Edwin Jackson, Ian Kennedy to D-backs, Daniel Schlereth, Max Scherzer to Tigers

Jon Heyman is tweeting that the three-way trade between the Yankees, Tigers and Diamondbacks is a go, pending medicals on the players concerned. The Yankees get Curtis Granderson, the Diamondbacks get Edwin Jackson and Ian Jackson, and the Tigers get Max Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth and a couple of Yankees players. Steve Gilbert also says, "Looks like the three-way trade is going to happen," so that's good enough for me.

Edwin Jackson is 26 and has a career ERA+ of 96 in 110 starts, but had a very solid 2009, posting a 3.62 ERA for the Tigers (ERA+ of 127). Ian Kennedy is 25 and has a career ERA of 6.03, but has only made a dozen starts in the majors. More details and analysis to follow in due course. 

While initial fan reaction seems to have been overwhelmingly negative, thus far, put me in the 'meh' category as far as our poll goes. The plus side of the deal is that we, effectively, turned a reliever in Schlereth, into a starter in Kennedy. This effectively fills a hole in the rotation, at relatively little additional cost: Jackson is arb-eligible, but will certainly be cheaper than a free-agent. The negative side, is that we swapped about five years of control over Scherzer, for two years of Jackson - and, in addition, Kennedy has not exactly shown an impressive track record at the major-league level.

Nick Piecoro had some interesting thoughts on the trade, reading between the lines. He thinks it implies that the Diamondbacks possibly have some qualms about Scherzer's long-term presence in the rotation and/or think Kennedy is a better bet for that. While Scherzer's 2009 season was certainly a solid performance, there have still been doubts about his stamina, ability to pitch deep into games and questions over whether he has a good enough third pitch to be a reliable starter.

By most reports, Kennedy has not been projected as being a great deal more than a #4 in the rotation. While that's a spot which needs to be filled for the Diamondbacks, one does wonder about the long-term benefits, after Jackson becomes a free-agent, at the end of the 2011 season. Would we rather have Kennedy or Scherzer in the rotation at that point? However, I suspect the team will be looking to the likes of Jarrod Parker to be filling the front of our starting pitching for 2012 and beyond. Be interesting to hear the explanation from Josh Byrnes, etc.

Ken Rosenthal says the reason for dealing Scherzer is that Arizona "view Scherzer as a reliever, not a starter. Scherzer had Tommy John surgery in high school. He was a reliever in college. And his mechanics remain a concern." Therefore, we are effectively converting two relievers into two starters." However, neutral opinion on the trade has generally been highly-critical of it, from the Diamondbacks viewpoint.  Rob Neyer is a good example: "All my friends seem to have this one the same: Great for Yanks, good for Tigers, terrible for Diamondbacks. My friends are usually right."

Steve Gilbert analyzes the trade on his blog, and seems to lean towards liking it, overall. "If Kennedy pans out like the D-backs think he will and Jackson gives them two good years before becoming a free agent then this will wind up being a good deal for the D-backs. Is there risk involved in giving up someone with Scherzer's ability? Absolutely and the D-backs are well aware of that... In the end you have to trust your scouts and if the D-backs feel as strongly as they do about Kennedy they have to follow that." That probably is the key: if Kennedy turns out to be a solid 3/4 starter, then the deal will be worthwhile for Arizona. Keyword there, obviously, is "if"...

Interesting info from Kennedy, who "said he had refined his two-seamer in an impressive showing in the Arizona Fall League and believed that pitch would make a major difference for him next season.." Our new pitcher said,  "Before, I couldn’t command my two-seamer; it was always talking off the plate and no one would swing at it. It would be really cool to do that famous Greg Maddux thing and start it at a left-hander’s front hip. I’d love to learn that. Right now, it’s something to get guys to swing at and put the ball in play and save pitches." However, I am somewhat concerned by the fact both he and Jackson tend to profile as fly-ball pitchers.

One point worth noting is that Max Scherzer's current price is not exactly minimum league salary, even though he hasn't hit arbitration. His current deal, which runs through next year, was for $4.3m over four, plus "performance bonuses may increase value to $6m," per Cot's. This season, he's due to earn just shy of $1.5m, according to Nick P's last update - not sure whether that includes any bonus or not. Either way, it does narrow the cost somewhat between Scherzer and Jackson in 2010 - Jackson earned $2.2m for the Tigers last season, and is likely due to increase that significantly (I'd guess $4-5m?) after a good performance in 2009.

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