No Rasmus, but the White Sox did OK in the Edwin Jackson deal

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Blue Jays acquired RHP Edwin Jackson and 3B-OF Mark Teahen from the White Sox for RHP Zach Stewart and RHP Jason Frasor.

We all know the Blue Jays have bigger plans here.  Oddly enough, though, there was a great deal of speculation last year when the White Sox picked up Edwin Jackson from the Diamondbacks that they were going to flip him to the Nationals for Adam Dunn.

Of course, it didn’t work out that way, and the Jackson-for-Daniel Hudson deal now looks like one of White Sox GM Ken Williams’ biggest missteps.  Jackson ended up going 11-9 with a 3.66 ERA in 30 starts for the White Sox, while Hudson is 17-7 with a 2.99 ERA in 32 starts for the Diamondbacks.  And Hudson is under control through 2016.

Other thoughts:

– The White Sox reportedly tried and failed to turn Jackson and Matt Thornton into Colby Rasmus.  The Blue Jays, though, think they can use Jackson to pull it off, and it may havel already happened.  Joe Strauss said it’ll be Jackson, Octavio Dotel and Mark Rzepczynski to St. Louis for Rasmus.

– The price to land Jackson was a solid pitching prospect in Zach Stewart, the supplemental first-round pick that Jason Frasor would have brought back had he left as a free agent and Mark Teahen’s contract, which still has about $7.25 million left on it.

So, I think the White Sox did pretty well here.  I’m assuming Williams exhausted the Rasmus possibility and couldn’t make it work.  He should have been able to get a better prospect than Stewart from another team, but finding someone else to take Teahen’s contract would have been difficult.  The Teahen signing was another one of Williams’ missteps.  Teahen was a below average regular in each of his last two seasons in Kansas City, yet Williams not only felt the need to trade for him, but he also gave him a three-year, $14 million deal before Teahen ever had an at-bat for the White Sox.

Now Williams has an extra $5.5 million for next year with Teahen off the books.  He can keep Frasor and the draft pick he’ll bring this winter or swap him for another prospect.  Stewart’s stock has fallen some, but I think he’ll turn into a very good reliever if put back into the bullpen.  The Blue Jays have been starting him since picking him up from the Reds in the Scott Rolen deal and he’ll be a candidate for the White Sox rotation next year, but I really feel he’d be best as an eighth-inning guy and maybe a possible closer down the line.

– The draft picks here are a wash.  Jackson and Frasor are both free agents after the season.  Frasor had to accept arbitration last year because no one wanted to sign him as a Type A free agent.  However, this year he projects as a Type B, meaning the team that signs him wouldn’t have to forfeit a pick.  Jackson, although he’s probably going to end up signing a deal worth $30 million or more, also projects as a Type B free agent.  The Jays last year traded for the Rockies’ Miguel Olivo after the season solely for the draft pick he’d bring when he left as a free agent, and they’re more attuned to draft pick compensation than most teams in baseball.  That wasn’t really a factor here, though.

– Perhaps the biggest plus for the White Sox here is simply that Ken Williams gets to turn the page.  This year has been a disaster for his reputation, given Hudson’s emergence as a top-flight pitcher and the epic failures of high-priced acquisitions Adam Dunn and Alex Rios.  There’s still hope for Dunn and Rios, but Jackson wasn’t going to be brought back next year and Teahen, while not useless, wasn’t about to stop being overpaid.  There are probably more dominoes to fall, and it will be interesting to see if he decides to further remake the 2012 team by shipping off either John Danks or Gavin Floyd next.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.