FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Blue Jays and White Sox are close to hammering out a deal that would involve Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen coming to Toronto, and Jason Frasor and a prospect heading to Chicago.

Update: Jackson is being told by White Sox officials that the deal is official.

Another update: According to Dave Gershman, Moises Sierra is not in the lineup at Double A New Hampshire

Jackson is pretty close to the starting pitching equivalent of Frasor: consistent, yet unspectacular. His repertoire consists of a mid nineties four seamer, a mid nineties two seamer, a really good slider and an average changeup. Jackson’s overuse of his slider has raised warning flags in the past, but he’s thrown 200+ innings the last two seasons and is well on his way to doing so again. He’s a free agent at the end of this season and currently projects to be a Type B (barely).

But Blue Jays fans shouldn’t spend too much time getting to know him. Here’s why:

As an asset, Jackson is most valuable to a team like the St. Louis Cardinals who need a number two or three starter. And as we wait for this deal to be finalized, I’m not alone in imagining that Anthopoulos would be trying to flip Jackson before agreeing to the deal as rumoured.

Giving up Frasor and a prospect, while taking on the $5.5 million that Mark Teahen is owed next year, would all be part of the cost of doing business.

Of course, it’s impossible to bring up St. Louis without mentioning Colby Rasmus, a player who has been shopped around heavily over the last couple days. I hate to raise expectations too highly, especially given the way in which rumours involving the Toronto Blue Jays often seem to have no basis in reality, but Jackson in St. Louis and Rasmus in Toronto seem to be far too good of a fit to not mention the possibility.

It’s very likely that in addition to Jackson, the Blue Jays would throw in another of their right handed relievers (Octavio Dotel, Frank Francisco or Jon Rauch) and another prospect in order to acquire Rasmus. Earlier this week, it was rumoured that the Cardinals and White Sox were talking about a potential deal, and St. Louis’ asking price for the young center fielder was Jackson, Matt Thornton and a prospect.

Not to piss on the parade planned down friggin’ Yonge Street, but we should remember two things: 1) Nothing is for sure yet; and 2) Rasmus isn’t without risk.

As a young center fielder who has experienced success at the Major League level, with both his bat and his glove, Colby Rasmus sounds like a dream acquisition for any organization. However, there are a couple of warning signs that might scare off some suitors looking to compare his fantastic 2010 season (.366 wOBA) with his merely above average 2011 (.329 wOBA).

Most notable is his decreased BABIP (from .354 in 2010 to .291 in 2011) and HR/FB (from 14.8% in 2010 to 8.1% in 2011). While there’s some dispute as to what degree these numbers are associated with luck, a significant change in BABIP is almost always a good indicator of something else happening.

In the case of Rasmus, we can see two things leading to the lower batting average for balls in play: 1) He isn’t hitting the ball as often the opposite way; and 2) he’s getting dummied by changeups low and away far more often than last season (11.9% whiff rate in 2010 compared to a 18.1% whiff rate in 2011 on changeups).

The bad news is that any team acquiring Rasmus has to wonder why St. Louis would doubt his ability to adjust to a seemingly obvious difference in his results at the plate. On the flip side of that coin, if it’s that recognizable, any team acquiring Rasmus would hopefully be aware of it, and thinking that they have the tools to fix it.

Comments (37)

  1. I have a boner.

  2. Long live the Sausage King!

  3. Keeping Jackson or flipping him for Rasmus are both big upgrades. Solid move(s). Teahen gives us a $5.5mil bench player, but whatever; we can afford it.

  4. You’re right, this is far too fitting.

    If the Jays are indeed acquiring Jackson for the purpose of trading him to the Cardinals, who else aside from Rasmus could logically form the core of the asset(s) coming back to Toronto?

    Any chance that Jackson stays in Toronto long-term? His FIP and xFIP have been very strong this season, he has an electric arm and is still young enough to be considered as still having some upside. The Jays already have a lot of young starters in the majors and high minor leagues, but Jackson would still slide in nicely behind Morrow and Romero.

  5. WEEEEEEE.

    I was drooling over Rasmus’ fangraphs page and the .354 BABIP last year definitely raised an eyebrow so I guess I wouldn’t expect a .280 hitter at this point in his career but trading Frasor/Jackson/Whoever for a guy who was rated By Baseball America as:
    Pre-2007: Rated #29 Prospect
    Pre-2008: Rated #5 Prospect
    Pre-2009: Rated #3 Prospect
    Is a pretty damn good “gamble” especially when he is only 24 and was in a bad situation and we could probably use a CF (Rajai is a great 4th OF in my opinion).

  6. New Hampshire is playing a double header today so it’s possible that Sierra is only scheduled to play the back half. It’s still fishy, mind you.

  7. so, IF a deal to flip EJax falls apart, the Jays still get an innings-eater in EJax for the RoS at the cost of Frasor, cash, and a PTBNL. Presumably, we’ll find out who the prospect is later if/when the flip takes place.

  8. Per Rosenthal, Jay’s are close to getting Rasmus. $$ holding it up. http://twitter.com/#!/Ken_Rosenthal/status/96244578805493761

  9. ie. if the deal goes through, the ChiSox will get something better than if it falls apart.

    Does that make sense?

  10. I love being a fan of this team. Moises Sierra is a B level prospect, yes? Flipping Sierra and Jason Frasor, and taking on a lousy contract in Mark Teahen for Colby Rasmus? I love it. Remember, Rasmus is only 24!

  11. Holy shit. Imagine if he pulled this off.

  12. colbyrasmuscolbyrasmuscolbyrasmus. I’m SO excited for you guys to explain to me why he’s going to crush my hopes and dreams…

    By the way, I think AA read your article and the comments last night and said “they don’t think I’ll spend money on the major league roster, I’ll show them…”

  13. Boners unite!

    In AA we trust!

  14. Rasmus situation in St. Louis seems very similar to Escobar’s situation in Atlanta last year (not good situation leading to poor results), and that one worked out OK for the Blue Jays.

    If this doesn’t happen and it’s still Jackson (a solid #3 starter) and a contract for Frasor I’m ok with that too. Or they could be trading him to someone else for someone we have no clue about.

  15. Fraser and ‘the equivalent of Sierra’ is for Jackson only. Keep in mind that we need to send Jackson, PLUS an MLB reliever (Dotel, Rauch, Francisco) PLUS another prospect to get Rasmus. The prospect we send will be good. Wait for it.

  16. That isn’t to say that I’m not all for this deal, its just that we need to realize that this is two trades here, not one. All we know this far is what Chi needs for Jackson

  17. Too bad AA is already married cause I would have proposed if this is true.

  18. Mike – you’re telling me we’d have to give up ONE of Dotel, Rauch or Francisco? There’s no chance St Louis would take all three?? And a PROSPECT? Heaven forbid! So long as its not Drabek or Henderson they can have the whole damn system. Colby Rasmus!

  19. If AA can get Rasmus and arrange for Papa Rasmus to have a Labotomy, I will bow down to him as a demi-god.

  20. Sierra is a bit higher than a B level prospect.

    Plus it will likely take another prospect and reliever to St. Louis to bring Rasmus here. I’m a huge fan of Rasmus in TO, but it will likely be at the cost of 2 Type B relievers and 2 prospects plus some cash. Essentially a 4 prospect for Rasmus swap.

    Still seems like a decent deal for such a young, high upside player already in the big leagues. I definitely want to see the prospects involved though.

  21. What are the Cards in need of? Should be expect an OF prospect?

  22. Thames headed to Cardinals as well?

  23. Cards asking about Thames – that wouldn’t be a horrible loss to get Rasmus.

  24. I can’t imagine St. Louis giving up Rasmus for Sierra and two months of Jackson. There has to be something more…

    then again Atlanta traded Escobar for Alex Gonzalez

  25. Thames will never get better than he is right now. I’d be happy to see him go and have Rasmus out there.

  26. If the Jays end up with Rasmus, my childhood rage directed towards TLR’s A’s teams will be like: “who’s the loser now!?”

  27. PTBNL = Zach Stewart!

  28. Looks like Olney says its Zach Stewart and not Sierra going to the Sox. Depending on who we give up to get Rasmus, I’m fine with that and really, even if its a lot I think my excitement for colby is sufficiently blinding right now where we could give up almost any prospect.

  29. Apparently its Zach Stewart and Frasor for Jackson and Teahan

  30. Wait, once we get into the area of Thames, Frasor, Sierra, cash and a bad contract for Rasmus we are starting to get into the too much range. Rasmus numbers are good for a centre fielder, but he’d be only the fourth best hitter on this team right now, behind Bautista, Lind and Escobar. He might even be behind Snider the way he’s hitting right now and Encarnacion the way he’s hitting right now. I know he still has room for improvement, but the regression from last year is not a great sign.

  31. Curse me and my slow posting. Zach Stewart! What! Yikes. I hate to say it, but I’m starting to not like the Blue Jays pitching long term, especially if they don’t keep Jackson.

  32. Looks like Zach Stewart gone to the Sox with Frasor. This is a higher level prospect that I expected for this deal.

    With Frasor and Jackson both being Type Bs, this is basically a Stewart for Teahan swap going into next season. As a stand alone trade, this is a terrible one.

    But flipping Jackson, Sierra and Dotel for Rasmus would make it all better.

  33. I’m not that torn up about losing Stewart. He’s a solid prospect and all but I think we have several higher ceiling starting pitchers in the minors right now. Probably our third best starting pitching prospect behind Alvarez and Hutchison. Dealing from a position of strength.

  34. So, AA. The time is now, then, eh?

  35. Also on Stewart. I don’t think AA and the new “upside loving” Jays were ever as high on him as
    most other talent evaluators.

    Stewart will likely be a very solid starter some day, but he definitely doesn’t have the same dominant
    stuff that Drabek, Morrow and other AA acquired starters have.

    Great pitcher and great prospect, but not as valuable to the Jays as to others. Kind of in the Brett
    Wallace (Lyle Overbay Jr?) mold.

  36. If KW extracted Stewart when most expected a bag of balls, what will StL manage to pry from the prospect cupboard?

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