You don’t need a GPS to know that sitting on a fence is not the proper location for hosting a sports talk radio show. But that’s right where I am on this Max Scherzer/Edwin Jackson, D-backs/Tigers/Yankees three way trade that is on the table.
The D-backs would acquire Tigers starting pitcher Edwin Jackson and Yankees starter Ian Kennedy for Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth, both of whom would go to Detroit.
While I’m certainly not in love with the deal; I’m not putting it on a pedestal, I don’t hate it either. It’s got risk. It’s got reward. So to try and get to the bottom of whether I endorse this deal or not, let’s play the pro/con game and see which comes out on top.
Pro: It’s got a we’re-going-for-it feel.
Con: It smells like a desperate move from a desperate franchise.
Pro: I have never been overly impressed with Max Scherzer as a starter. Pitch counts. Working deep into games. Throwing something else other than a fastball. Not his thing.
Con: I have thought for the last year that Max would make one hell of a closer. Screw pitch counts. Screw working deep into games. Throw the fastball as fast as you can and dare guys to hit it.
Pro: You just added starting pitching to your rotation without having to pay a lot for it.
Con: Of the four guys the D-backs have just added or subtracted, none of them have as high a ceiling as Max Scherzer does. And it ain’t even close.
Pro: If Brandon Webb is healthy, that’s a pretty good one-two-three in your rotation in Dan Haren, Webb and Jackson. And if Webb is hurt, Jackson is a better #2 than Scherzer.
Con: If Webb is hurt next year, then next year probably isn’t going to amount to much anyway and you would have been better served holding on to Scherzer.
Pro: Jackson was a big, big reason why the Tigers were poised to win the AL Central. He had a 2.52 era in the first half of the season…in the American League.
Con: Jackson was a big reason why the Tigers didn’t win the AL Central. He had a 6.14 era in September.
Pro: You’ll get more innings out of Jackson.
Con: You have only two years of Jackson before he is a free agent and gone baby gone. You had five years left of Scherzer before he would have been a free agent.
Pro: Both Scherzer and Schlereth might have injury issues throughout their careers.
Con: You just gave up two real live arms.
Pro: Kennedy was GREAT in the minors.
Con: Kennedy was great in the MINORS.
Pro: Getting two starters for a starter and a reliver makes sense.
Con: Three of your recent first round picks are either hurt (Jarrod Parker) or pitching for the Tigers.
Bottom line: It’s a big risk for Josh Byrnes, maybe even a make-or-break type deal for the GM. There was plenty of pressure on him to begin with and if this trade blows up in his face or if Max Scherzer becomes the next Carlos Quentin, an uneasy fan base might be inspired to grab their pitchforks and storm the castle. They must have thought he wasn’t built to be a starter and didn’t want to waste his talent as a closer. He could be dominant in that role one day. But right now, today, the D-backs are a better team than they were before the Winter Meetings began.
It’s an aggressive move and I guess I’d rather have that than standing pat or spending a bunch of money in a free agent market that doesn’t look so hot. And I do like the notion of putting Jackson in the National League. He had a 3.62 era in the American League so it stands to reason that switching to the league that has the lesser hitters makes for a better pitcher.
So I guess I like it. I guess.