Jackson is now in his fifth organization since he made his major league debut in 2003. Either he’s a very valuable commodity, or someone that teams views as easily acquired rotation filler.
While Jackson is a White Sox for now, do we know if he will be one on Saturday evening? There has been rumored interest in a three-way swap between the Diamondbacks, Nationals and White Sox, with Adam Dunn ending up in Chicago and Jackson landing with the Nats.
While Jackson’s strikeout and walk rates haven’t been great this year, he’s made up for it by getting ground balls. His GB% has been hovering around 40% most of his career, but he’s brought it up to an impressive 50.5% this season. This made up for the possible detriment that is Arizona’s home park, and should help keep balls from flying out of The Cell. Since Jackson has pitched in the AL Central before, his numbers shouldn’t unexpectedly decline (or increase for that matter).
Jackson is under contract for $8.35 million next year, thanks to a two-year deal from the D’Backs that was heavily back loaded. While Jackson isn’t a stud, he’ll be worth his contract and a little more. After next season, Jackson will be a free agent and should be able to command about $10 million a year on the open market.
As for what they gave up, Hudson was the team’s top pitching prospect, but there are questions about his long term role. He’s got a decent fastball and change-up, but his breaking ball is inconsistent. While he showed some good GB rates in the minors, he’s been an extreme flyball guy in his brief time in the big leagues, and the White Sox may have decided that he gives up too many balls in the air to succeed in their park, especially since he doesn’t have a knockout pitch to rack up a ton of strikeouts. Still, he’s a decent young arm, and one that will be under team control through 2016.
Kenny Williams likes to deal, but this is not one of his better ones. One may expect the price for Jackson to be lower than what the White Sox paid, given what the returns were for superior pitchers in Roy Oswalt and Dan Haren. Instead of keeping Hudson and letting him fill the rotation spot that Jake Peavy vacated, the White Sox decided to go out and fill it with a more expensive source. While Jackson probably won’t be enough by himself to change the direction of the White Sox’s season, he is a good piece for this year and beyond. All that remains to be seen is if he will stay a White Sox for long.