I'm sure all this will be a moot point by 3pm today (Manny Chatter! Ugh.).
But let's assume Kenny intends to keep Mr. Jackson, especially that it now seems like Rizzo screwed Kenny over by making him think a Dunn deal was imminent with Jackson acquired and then pulled the plug.
It's not necessarily a weird move as Daniel Hudson wasn't (and isn't) someone who was going to help in the last two months. He evoked visions of the '04 Rauch-Grilli-Wright-Diaz fifth starter debacle.
But Edwin Jackson?
Well, he's young at only 26. And doesn't come cheap next year at $8.75 million. He's known this year for throwing a 149-pitch, eight walk no-hitter and being absolutely brutal outside of that.
But oddly, have we just seen Kenny make his first sabermetrics-based move? Before acquiring Juan Pierre, it was reported that the Sox were trying to get Brett Gardner, a saber wet dream, from the Yankees, something that would have been a huge coup and may have helped the Sox avoid the early season crapfest.
With Jackson, his value this year rests in his deeper peripherals. He's not going to be anything close to what Hawk thinks he's going to be ("With Coop in his ear, this kid could easily be a 15-20 game winner." - remember to mop up the booth before you leave, Hawk.) but while his control is an issue, consider this:
Since becoming a full-time starter in '07, Jackson's groundball rate is the highest of his career this year at 50.5%, something that gives him big value in U.S. Cellular, and his HR/9 is a very respectable 0.87. He's walk-happy and not particularly strikeout-y but he's shown to be fairly durable and has proven success against the AL Central on his résumé.
On that, he's been brutal in his career against the Twins (Thome destroys him) but owns the Tigers' lineup along with the Royals' current collection of chumps. And maybe more importantly, he's been acceptable against the Indians. Especially lately (4-0, 2.14 ERA last year). His WHIP is a big concern along with his performance late last year but it's stuff you can deal with in the back-end of the rotation.
And he makes sure that Sweaty Freddy doesn't sniff the #4 spot in the rotation.
If they keep Jackson, and that's still a big "if", he has value for this season, doesn't come cheap for next season but is a much better certainty than Daniel Hudson (Phil compared him to Jered Weaver. BAH! He gets paid money to write. Think about that.). I worry about his historical comparables (Kyle Lohse and Ian Snell) and his salary for next year puts the starting rotation's commitment at around $51 million with a Danks' arb jump. That's a ton of dough for the five starters and may hamper the addition of a third baseman that isn't a trash can with a glove attached to it (Adrian Beltre if he opts out? - just think) but let's keep our sights on this year for now.
On this week. Some cooling of the jets should probably happen. The Seattle Mariners (a Christo entry in the forthcoming TOA) are on pace to be a historically awful offensive baseball team. That pace? 536 runs. To put that in perspective, no team since 2000 has even come close to scoring that few runs with the 2002 Tigers, a team so brutal it was almost funny, scoring 574 runs.
But they didn't succumb to a White Sox tendency of playing down to their competition. This team feels different now. It's the kind of team that gets a completely acceptable outing from guys like Lucas Harrell.
The week's recap from Saturday to Friday (5-2 overall, 5-0 at home, 0-2 on the road)
Started the week 2.5 games up and ended the week 1.5 games up
.263/.329/.421 = .750 OPS and a .330 wOBA
Walk rate: 7.9%
K rate: 15.5%
Avg. w/ RISP: .451 Holy Crap!
Individually, it was the Ramon Castro week! Three long balls. You go, chubs. "Tank" (hate that name) got back on the horse. Beckham continues his slow climb. He could easily have very respectable numbers by the end of the season, especially when comparing him to other second-sackers. .860 OPS since June 9 with 16 doubles in 151 PAs (a 64 double pace for a full season). Pierzynski had a better week, which was becoming a concern and Kotsay continues to make a run at the 2010 Most Worthless Hitter Award currently held by Brandon Wood (a TOA entry). As of today, Kotsay OWES the Sox $3.6 million in terms of WAR Value. That doesn't touch the $5.5 million that Wood owes the Angels, something accomplished in barely two months worth of action, but it's still prodigious.
The "I'm gonna steal home in the first inning" stolen bases stat: Swiped seven, caught twice.
Short one. No worries here, as the Mariners and A's helped the situation. Jenks quieted some critics but he still blows and congers up Thigpen images when thinking about the last two months of this season. Putz's scoreless inning streak came to an end. Garcia and Buehrle weren't good at missing bats but Danks and Floyd were 2-0 with an 0.60 ERA and 0.80 WHIP combined for the week. They've been quite the two-headed monster in series match-ups lately. Threets is making a case for the LOOGY guy the Sox need. We'll see.
Six game week, off Monday. Two more at home against the A's, then four in Detroit with a doubleheader Tuesday followed by the start of the FOUR-game set in Baltimore. This is the part of the schedule that teams dream of with oodles of Mariners, A's and Orioles fodder.
* Betcha Phil's going to TiVo the Gonzalez game on Sunday and do weird things while watching it. The Sox miss Verlander in Detroit. Thank You. Bergesen oddly has a respectable three-year track record against the Sox so prepare for that. Two-start week for Floyd.
* Important stretch after the Orioles' series with six against the Twins and three against the Tigers in a ten-day stretch helped by six against the Royals and the Orioles (again!!!) right after that.
* With the Tigers fading, the focus is back on the Twins (wrong again on that, Christo). New worry for me: Just how much are the games against the Indians in Cleveland going to mean? They are squeezed between the Yankees and the Red Sox between August 27 and September 5. Get through that stretch in good shape and the rest of the schedule helps when thinking about controlling their own fate.