Scouting The Trade Market: Edwin Jackson


The trade deadline is just six days away now, so if the Yankees are going to make a move for a starting pitcher, it’s going to happen soon. We’ve been highlighting potential trade candidates for weeks now and we’ll do another one this afternoon: Edwin Jackson of the White Sox. Chicago is 49-50 with a -2 run differential this year, but they’re still just 4.5 games back of the AL Central lead. They’ve won five of eight since the All-Star break but are just 9-9 in July, and they haven’t been within three games of the division lead since mid-April. A healthy John Danks gives them six starters and one very nice trade chip to dangle. It makes sense that it would be the impending free agent.

Jackson is no stranger to being dealt, having been traded four times overall and three times in the last two and a half years. He was part of the three-team trade that brought Curtis Granderson to the Yankees, going from the Tigers to the Diamondbacks before being traded to the ChiSox at the deadline last year. Does that mean the clubs that had him didn’t like him and got rid of him, or does it mean that so many other teams wanted him? Choose your own narrative and we break down the facts…

The Pros

  • It seems like Jackson’s been around forever, but he’s still just 27 (28 in September). His career is progressing like it should be; he’s getting better every year. His FIP (3.20 this season) has improved every season since he became a full-time starter in 2007. His xFIP (3.41) and K/BB ratio (2.49) have gotten better every year since 2008. Jackson owns career bests in walk (2.74 uIBB/9) and homer (0.59 HR/9) rates this year, and you can see that just about everything is trending in the righty direction at his year-by-year graphs page on FanGraphs.
  • Jackson has the kind of power stuff the Yankees typically covet. His fastball sits in the mid-90′s and has his entire career, and he’ll also use a high-80′s slider and a mid-80′s changeup. It’s worth noting that the ChiSox and pitching guru Don Cooper had Jackson incorporate a two-seamer and use more offspeed pitches after trading for him last year. From 2008 until the trade last August, he threw basically no two-seamers and just 22.9% sliders and 8.1% changeups. Since the trade, he’s up to 8.4% two-seamers, 37.4% sliders, and 11.4% changeups. It’s probably not an accident that he’s done his best pitching with Chicago.
  • Aside from a forearm strain way back in 2004, Jackson has never dealt with injury problems. He’s made at least 31 starts every year since 2007 and has thrown at least 200 innings in each of the last two years and 180 innings in each of the last three. He’s on pace to do it yet again this season. Jackson has spent the vast majority of his career in the AL and a good chunk of it in the AL East with the (Devil) Rays.
  • Jackson is a pure rental is his salary is miniscule: $8.35M for the season, so approximately $2.78M after July 31st. He projects to be a Type-B free agent (though just barely), and it would be an easy choice to offer arbitration given his relatively low base salary.

The Cons

  • Jackson is surrendering more line drives that ever, a career-high 23.5% of the time this season. That’s led to a .333 BABIP and 134 hits allowed in 121.2 IP. The number of hits allowed and his batting average against (.283) are both among the ten worse in the AL. His career BABIP is .309, so it’s not like there’s a huge regression coming.
  • Despite the high-end stuff, Jackson has never really excelled at missing bats. His 7.18 K/9 this season is barely above the league average (7.02) and down from 7.78 K/9 last year. His 8.9% swing and miss rate is above the league average (8.5%) but down from last year (10.4%) and the year before (9.8%).
  • Although he doesn’t really have much of a platoon split over his entire career, he does have one this year. It’s not huge but it exists, likely because of the increased emphasis of his slider, a pitch not normally used against batters of the opposite hand.
  • Jackson has pitched in the postseason but not really. Tampa left him off their ALDS roster in 2008 then used him for just three relief appearances and 4.1 IP in the ALCS and World Series combined. That’s the only time he’s played on a serious contender, though he was part of the 2009 Tigers that played in a Game 163 against the Twins.
  • Jackson is a Scott Boras client, so he will definitely test the market after the season. Acquiring him wouldn’t give a club the inside track to re-signing him this offseason based on Boras’ history. I’m sure he’ll be touting Jackson as the next Roy Halladay or something.

The Yankees had a scout in Cleveland yesterday, a game in which Jackson just so happened to be pitching. He gave up two runs in six innings but walked as many as he struck out (three). Chicago has also been keeping an eye on the Yankees’ farm system. There have been rumblings about a potential deal that would have Jackson going to the Cardinals as part of a package for Colby Rasmus, but who knows if that’s true. If it is, the Yankees have little chance of acquiring him because they won’t be able to top St. Louis’ offer. Well, they could, but it wouldn’t be the smartest thing they’ve done.

The ol’ trade value calculator values the remainder of Jackson’s season and Type-B free agent status at $11M or so, assuming he maintains his current performance level for 31 starts. Victor Wang’s research gives us an idea of what that would be in prospects, essentially a back-end of the top 100 guy or some combination of two Grade-B prospects. Austin Romine or David Phelps plus Corban Joseph? Gary Sanchez or Adam Warren plus J.R. Murphy? I’m just throwing names out there, the reality is that we have absolutely no idea what the White Sox would want in return. The calculator at least gives us a halfway decent estimation. Brian Cashman has fleeced Kenny Williams before, though I don’t think we can count on that happening again. Either way, Jackson seems like he’d been a rock solid pickup for the stretch run, a legitimate starter than you can count on to stay healthy and outperform the cache of back-end arms on the roster.

Categories : Trade Deadline


  1. Louis says:

    Austin Romine is on the same level as David Phelps? and Gary Sanchez on the same level as Adam Warren?

  2. J.R. says:

    Gary Sanchez has to be more movable now than he was last year or this winter. It reminds me a little of when Tabata had on field behavior issues and Cashman became much more willing to use him as a trade chip.

  3. Andy says:

    What about John Danks? If Jackson is available, could Danks possibly also be available?

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      Jackson is available because he’s a FA. Danks is till arbitration eligible I believe. They’re not having a fire sale so Danks will be had for an extreme price.

  4. JobaWockeeZ says:

    I’d give up Romine. I’m unsure about Sanchez. But he’s a better option than Ubaldo considering the cost and since Kenny Williams isn’t described as a smart GM I cannot be overrating him.

    • Htrap says:

      I’m all for Edwin Jackson, give the guy a chance. He could reach his full potential and pitch like a perrenial All-Star.

  5. Htrap says:

    In my opinion, E-Jax would be a great addition to the Yankees pitching staff. The price shouldn’t be overly high, and Jackson is still only 27. If he pulls it together like he has done in his career in some stretches, he could be a very valuable number 3. This is the type of trade and pitcher the Yanks have to go for, not for the big trade of Ubaldo Jimemez.

    Some other guys they could target:

    Hiroki Kuroda (but doesn’t want to come to the East coast)
    Ricky Nolasco
    Wandy Rodriguez (even though the Astros are asking for a Jimenez-type deal)
    Rich Harden (cheap, low risk, high reward)

    Any thoughts guys??

    • Htrap says:

      Also possibly John Danks

    • jsbrendog says:

      danks isnt a free agent and would cost more, wandy is not worth that insanely shitty contract the stros gave him, harden will most likely get hurt, what is the diff between him and colon? youre just waiting for the meter to run out on both.

  6. JAG says:

    I’m not sure how thrilled I’d be at losing Romine or Sanchez for a rental of Jackson. Admittedly, no guarantee of what they’d become, but I have to think a deal could be made with some close-to-the-majors pitching prospects like Warren and/or Noesi instead of losing the real high-ceiling guys.

    As for Jackson himself, seems like he might be an improvement over Garcia, Burnett, or maybe even Hughes for the remainder of the season. Also, although an extension is unlikely, you have to think playing in New York might at least shed light on whether or not Jackson is a fit on the team before committing a lot of free agent dollars to him.

    • Reggie C. says:

      Good way to look at it. If , and its probably not a stretch, this deal wont cost the yanks either killer B or Montero then its something Cashman could pull off if no alternatives emerge.

      Jackson is a veteran and perhaps he shines down the stretch.

  7. hogsmog says:

    This guy or Kuroda, please. The only deals I would sell the farm for are for players whose teams have no reason to trade them. Even so, we could easily (and should) upgrade the rotation with a solid #3ish starter.

  8. Dan says:

    If you get someone like Jackson, what does the rotation look like after? I mean they are not going to go with a six-man rotation, so does Hughes go to the pen or the minors? It seems like that would hurt his development.

  9. bravesfan101 says:

    The Yankees should trade CC Sabathia to the Braves for our top pitching prospects (Randall Delgado, Julio Teheran, Mike Minor, Arodys Vizcaino). Then, CC can opt out and sign with the Yanks again.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      Done seeing as how we got screwed by the Vazquez trade…

    • Louis says:

      I’m pretty sure sabathia wouldn’t get much return in a trade unless the yanks were willing to eat like 15/16ths of his salary.

      • Jetrer says:

        CC is definitely worth what he makes, and the acquiring team would only have to pay him for 2 months before he opts out. Not happening though so not worth arguing about.

  10. FIPster Doofus says:

    Am I the only one who’s very “meh” on this guy despite his excellent peripherals?

    • Htrap says:

      No, you aren’t the only one out there, but he may be the best option out there that isn’t going to drain the farm system. I know we all have doubts about this guy, but he could provide a boost and an upgrade in the rotation.

      • FIPster Doofus says:

        Well, he’d be an improvement over Burnett and Hughes at least. I just wouldn’t give up a lot for him.

        • Htrap says:

          I agree, he is DEFINITELY NOT worth draining the farm for. But for the right price, he is a welcome addition in the rotation.

          Come playoff time, this is actually a decent rotation:

          Either Colon (if healthy and pitching well) or AJ (if back on track)
          Jackson or the other from the top

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      Well he passes the Hughes, Burnett and Garcia tests by far.

    • CP says:

      I think that’s because he was so bad for so long. He came up very young (debuted on his 20th birthday) and took a long time to improve his control and develop, but he’s shown steady improvement every year.

      You have to remember that you’re trading for 2011 Edwin Jackson, and not 2004-2007 Edwin Jackson.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      I don’t love him, but there are worse options for a two month rental. The stuff is there, he could come over and put on a Superman cape for two months. Stranger things have happened.

    • nsalem says:

      no you’re not

  11. Reggie C. says:

    Bc its a near certainty that Boras will guide E Jax to FA , Cashman simply shouldn’t overpay in prospects. If it means losing Adam warren and Jr Murphy … Yikes, thst move hits the SP depth for 2012.

    Yet I would still do it. Yanks are going to make a run at a starter anyway – Cj Wilson, E Jackson, etc.

    Can’t prospect hug when we’re dealing with guys who might not make the top 10 lists on good farms

  12. Am I the only Kevin? says:

    I imagine Nova plus a lottery ticket/PTBNL (e.g., Eduardo Sosa, etc.) would get it done. Nova’s trade value comes right up into the $20M-30M range if you project him out as a 2-2.5 WAR pitcher. Does Chicago have any bullpen arms to throw in?

  13. Brazilian Fan says:

    I dont understand why the Yankees fleced the CWS on the Swisher deal.

    Nobody wanted him when the deal was made. Someone could have made a better offer too.

    The Yankees paid what was the market on Swish.

    So Kenny Williams should fire his coach not turn the deals with the Yankees harder because of the deal.

    Like the Nats on the trade of ALby. It was the market prce in that deal and we were satisfied. We were not robbed, like on the Gasol trade by the Lakers.

    • sheepmeister says:

      Kenny Williams was fleeced since he traded a player that was in/entering his prime after one bad season and letting his manager dictate the value of the player by not playing him. If he looked at the career/advanced stats, there was a good probability that he was going to rebound. Accepting a AAA player and bench player for a starting OF (reasonable salary as well) looked dumb when it happened and even worse now.

      • YankeesJunkie says:

        Got to also give credit to Cashman for making the “best” deal for Swisher who I bet a lot teams saw potential in.

    • Am I the only Kevin? says:

      I think people (for example, me) say this because:

      1) most fans/analysts were ecstatic about the trade from the get go seeing it as a clear win for the Yankees,
      2) Williams has a history of making crappy trades, and
      3) why the heck wouldn’t some team in need of an outfielder not offered up something better?

      The simplest answers are that Williams took our offer over (likely better) offers because he (unreasonably) liked our package better, or he pulled the trigger without shopping around.

  14. J_Yankees says:

    I’m kinda “meh” on him and I don’t know why. I really shouldn’t be. He has solid numbers. He has plus stuff. Really, he’s an upgrade over Hughes, AJ, Garcia and Nova.

    Wish the Yankees still had Wilson Betemit so Cash could bust Kenny Williams balls some more.

  15. Reggie C. says:

    Not sure what peoples definition of not “draining the farm” are exactly. I figure that if Cashman isnt trading for an elite arm (greinke, ubaldo, not many elite arms available recently), then he shouldnt be parting with two of the three obvious stud players in this farm.

    Edwin Jackson isn’t in the elite category but he’s shown an ability to play at the tier just below elite. If Cashman can get that for the stretch without coughing up one of the big three , its worth a shot

  16. nycsportzfan says:

    I would be very fine with Jackson coming to NY, as long as the trade value was fair.. Jackson is more of a sure thing in the playoffs then i think Colon or Garcia would be against teams like Boston,Det,Philly, and the Rangers offenses…

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      Considering Garcia gets by purely on guile, sure. But why Colon? Compared to Jackson, he strikes out more hitters, walks fewer, and has a nearly identical ground ball rate.

      Given his superb peripherals, which – unlike Jackson’s – are right in line with his ERA, I think it’s fair to say Colon is who he is by this point in the season. Unless he gets hurt, he’s not going away, and has just as good a chance as Jackson (if not better) to fare well against strong offensive teams.

  17. Mike HC says:

    Never been a fan of his. I wouldn’t really give up anything for him, personally.

  18. Monteroisdinero says:

    Let’s get him and put him under the wing of Rothschild. The guy deserves some credit for a great season of starting pitching so far.

    Phil doesn’t count.

  19. Naved says:

    Let’s just say Jackson does come to the Yankees. We would have too many starting pitchers for now and dare I say put Phil Hughes in the bullpen for the stretch run into the playoffs? You saw how philthy he can get if you let just gas it for an inning.

  20. Angel says:


  21. nsalem says:

    Total pass. I have more confidence in Bartolo and Garcia for that matter. He’s a terrible September pitcher and the Red Sox have always eaten him for breakfast especially in Fenway. Besides 09 and the end of last year he’s been an average pitcher with great stuff (don’t we have one or two of those already) Be patient.
    I think the quietness on the Yankee trade front portends good things to come. This may be the calm before the storm.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      The Red Sox have eaten Garcia for breakfast and Garcia has been a terrible pitcher for the majority of his career. Besides 2011 he hasn’t been good for years. But hey blind optimism.

  22. Tim says:

    Freddy Garcia…129……………2.4
    Bartolo Colon….126…………. 1.8
    Ivan Nova……… 101…………. 1.1
    Edwin Jackson. 104…………. 2.0

    Burnett is not leaving the rotation, barring injury. I can’t imagine Hughes would be moved to the bullpen, either. Jackson would be a free agent at the end of the season, and doesn’t offer any appreciable improvement over the current trio of starters for the 4-5 slots in the rotation. Why would the Yankees trade for him again?

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      ERA+ is outdated.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      Jackson: 3.20 FIP, 3.41 xFIP, 3.0 fWAR
      Colon: 3.39 FIP, 3.24 xFIP 2.0 fWAR
      Garcia 3.76 FIP, 4.15 xFIP, 1.7 fWAR
      Nova: 4.45 FIP, 4.25 xFIP, 0.8 fWAR

      • Tim says:

        OK. Let’s look at this another way. I think we can all agree that if the Yankees add an arm down the stretch, the guy most likely to be bumped from the rotation is Garcia. So whoever they add needs to be better than Garcia and better than Nova (the 6th starter). I think we can all agree that right now Garcia is better than Nova, so as long as the replacement is better than Garcia, the Yankees will be upgrading their rotation.

        Fangraphs and B-R both determine WAR, but they don’t determine it the same way. B-R says Garcia is better, FG says Jackson is better. Neither one says their guy is definitely better, so I think we can call that a wash.

        FIP and xFIP measure how a pitcher “should have done” with league average defense. What it doesn’t tell you is how the pitcher actually did, which is all that really matters in the short term. FIP doesn’t tell me if batters regularly make weak contact and hit little pop-ups on the infield or lazy flies to right. Pitchers who induce weak contact rather than strikeouts are at a disadvantage when comparing FIP’s. The stat is not meant to compare performance over a short stretch of the season, nor is it meant as a predictor of how a pitcher is going to do for the next two months. It is most useful at predicting longer term how a pitcher will fare, with larger sample sizes.

        ERA+ on the other hand measures adjusted ERA based on ballpark and league average. So, essentially, ERA+ tells me that Garcia has pitched better than Jackon, and FIP tells me that, because Garcia doesn’t strike anyone out and Jackson does, Jackson “should” have pitched better than Garcia. I don’t care how he “should” have pitched. I care how he, you know, actually pitched. And “actually”, he hasn’t been appreciably better (or better at all) than Garcia.

        Therefore, if he hasn’t pitched better than Garcia, and you really cannot definitively say that over the remaining 9-10 starts of the season that he WILL pitch better than Garcia, why would you trade a potentially valuable commodity AND demote Garcia to accommodate a minimal (if any) upgrade? I’ll take the guy who gives up fewer hits and fewer walks and only minimally more home runs, thank you.

        • FIPster Doofus says:

          Meh. Zack Greinke’s ERA+ is 82 this year despite a 6.33 K/BB rate. You can’t judge someone on ERA or ERA+. Too damn flawed.

        • Your assumptions are wrong. FIP and xFIP do not tell you what should have happened. FIP tells you how a pitcher performed based on the events over which he has the most control. That is, it cuts defense completely out of the equation. The difference between ERA and FIP might be defense, it might be a pitcher’s batted ball profile, or might be dumb luck. It’s tough to say, because we’re cutting out an entire array of results. But it’s like OBP. It tell us one important thing, and it tells us clearly.

          (To be clear, FIP is only scaled to ERA, because we are familiar with ERA. There are other ways to express FIP, but that would make it more difficult to put in context.)

          xFIP adds a degree of predictiveness, since it scales back the idea of homers as a skill. There are flaws in that, too, and I agree that you can’t go making decisions like rotation upgrades based on that.

          What we can do is look at factors that may give us an idea of how Jackson would perform as a Yankee. By most measures the White Sox have a terrible defense, especially in the outfield. As a Yankee, more of Jackson’s fly balls would turn into outs, because the Yankees outfielders are better at getting to them. You won’t learn that from ERA+. The Yankees’ infield defense is also at least as good, and probably better than the White Sox. Again, you can’t see that from ERA+. In other words, if you flipped Garcia and Jackson, I am confident that Jackson would look a lot better right now.

          And as a final note, I don’t think we can agree that Garcia would get bumped. It’s hard to make an argument to keep Hughes in the rotation right now if they get someone better.

    • Gonzo says:

      fWAR, SIERA, FIP, and xFIP tell a different story.

    • Mike HC says:

      I’m with you. I don’t see him as an upgrade, just another back end guy to tack on, which is not what we should really be trading for.

  23. Deadhorse25 says:

    The Yanks should try and get the White Sox to include Matt Thornton if they do discuss a trade for E-Jax

  24. YankeesJunkie says:

    Jackson fills in the role of #3 starter quite well and is better than Burnett, Hughes, and Garcia so far this season. As far as who gets dropped it may very well be Hughes considering that this may just be a lost year for him. Even if they happen to put Hughes in the pen this year for the remainder of the season hopefully that will end up being temporary rather than permanent. However, I still think Garcia should go down to the pen just because his stuff against higher quality teams leads to some ugly outings.

  25. Engelbert says:

    This trade could have potential, but I tend to agree with the whole Boras side of the debate. Any prospect given up by New York could end up like Jackson (or better) and still be under team control next year and beyond. Also, am I the only one who noticed that announcer in the video sounds like Captain Tenneal from MXC?

  26. Angel says:

    Sheilds x Betances, Romine, Golson, Phelps

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