This week, we will take a look at some players that we feel Boston should acquire at the trade deadline. We'll all take a stab at a particular player we want to see playing for the Red Sox during the last two months of the season, as well as our reasons for wanting them in a Boston uni. Agree or disagree in the comments, as us authors don't even necessarily agree with each other on these players.
As it stands right now, the Boston Red Sox pitching rotation has many question marks. With Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz on the DL, Terry Francona has been forced to put together a pretty scrappy rotation in order to fill in for these two All-Stars. Right now, the Red Sox have names like Tim Wakefield (4.80 ERA), Andrew Miller (5.68 ERA), and Kyle Weiland (13.50 ERA) rounding out the three, four and five spots in the rotation.
The top two starters in the rotation right now are AL-Cy Young candidate Josh Beckett and John Lackey. While I have full confidence in Beckett down the stretch, I can't say the same about Lackey. Although he has pitched well as of late, Lackey still owns an atrocious 6.70 ERA and a 7-8 overall record.
With the July 31 MLB Trade Deadline approaching, I believe the Red Sox's main focus needs to be starting pitchers. While the market is very limited at the moment, I believe the Red Sox have a fit in White Sox starting pitcher Edwin Jackson.
Edwin Jackson is having another typical Edwin Jackson season. As of Tuesday, Jackson has a manageable 6-7 overall with a 3.97 ERA in 115.2 innings pitched this season. Jackson's 7.3 strike out per nine innings ratio and his 2.8 walks per nine are typical Jackson as well. Jackson has pitched particularly well since the beginning of May, as he owns a 3.14 ERA since then. As a Red Sox fan, I am quite intrigued by a guy like Jackson possibly joining a short-handed rotation.
While he does give up a fair amount of hits per outing, he does keep the ball in the ballpark, as he's only given up eight home runs in a pretty hitter friendly ballpark in US Cellular Field. At a hitters friendly home ballpark, Jackson owns a 2.81 ERA in nine starts there. Jackson surrendered four runs or less in five of his seven losses this year. With a more high powered offense in Boston, most of those losses Jackson had would have been wins with the Red Sox.
Traditionally in his career, Jackson has been used as a solid third or fourth starter for most teams. With the Red Sox, he would most likely be the fourth or even fifth starter when Buchholz and Lester return to the rotation. While Lester will be back just before the Trade Deadline, Buchholz's return remains uncertain. Jackson could simply slide into the third starter role, and then move to fourth once Clay returns.
Jackson also has some experience pitching in the AL East, as he pitched for Tampa Bay for three seasons. So if acquired, Jackson would certainly be comfortable facing teams like the Yankees and Rays. The Red Sox reportedly scouted Jackson in his last start in Detroit, where he pitched a complete game shutout.
The White Sox currently have a pitching rotation consisting of Jackson, Mark Buehrle, Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd and Phil Humber. With John Danks coming off the disabled list soon, the White Sox will have a six man rotation, and could look to trade one of their starters before the deadline. Most experts believe the odd man out would be Jackson, who is no stranger to being traded and would most likely bring the best return in a potential trade.
While it is unclear what the White Sox would seek in a potential trade, they probably won't get the same amount of value that they originally had to give up for Jackson. The White Sox obtained Jackson last season from Arizona for top-pitching prospect Daniel Hudson, who is currently pitching well for the Diamondbacks. If I were to guess, they might seek middle infield help and may covet a guy like Yamaico Navarro and maybe a minor league catcher, someone like Tim Federowicz who can eventually take A.J. Pierzynski's place. Maybe this is a deal where we can finally dump Lars Anderson? Who knows.
Jackson would come at a cost, as he has about six million dollars left on his current deal that he signed a few years ago. While the Red Sox are on a tight budget, they could convince the White Sox to cover some of Jackson's contract, making him more affordable. Either way, a guy like Edwin Jackson is worth it. Jackson could potentially achieve Type-B free agent status, so the Red Sox could offer arbitration and let the Scott Boras client walk and collect draft pick compensation.
He has proven to be one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball and could ultimately give this Red Sox pitching rotation a boost. With Beckett/Lester/Buchholz at the top, and Jackson and a hopefully improving John Lackey rounding out the rotation certainly makes Red Sox fans breathe easier.
While I certainly don't rule out the Red Sox also going after a smaller name like Reed Johnson from the Cubs to help out the outfield (.365/.400/.538 against lefties), I still believe the rotation is the number one concern. I simply do not trust Tim Wakefield, Andrew Miller, or Kyle Weiland potentially making 10 to 15 more starts this season.
I believe the offense needs a small upgrade in the outfield, but with a healthy Red Sox offense in place, I think Boston could certainly live with J.D. Drew, Josh Reddick, or a right field platoon hitting eighth or ninth in the lineup. With Lester expected back in late July, and Buchholz unsure about his return, I think the Red Sox need to pursue an insurance pitcher who is a proven number three or four starter. A guy like Edwin Jackson makes the most since for me if I'm Theo Epstein and the Red Sox.