Why Edwin Jackson Makes Sense

Ok, boys and girls.  I've been scanning the interwebs, and noticing a lot of angst regarding the recent Colby Rasmus trade.  In the interest of rational dialogue, I thought I'd post a brief explanation of why this trade makes some degree of sense and could work out.  Feel free to flame if you wish, but lets try to be civil, shall we?

Right of the bat, I'll acknowledge that Edwin Jackson's career numbers are fairly pedestrian.  His career ERA is 4.53.  He has a career 55-58 record.  His career WHIP is 1.48.  These are not the numbers of a world-beater.  But consider what Jackson does bring to the club this year:

- Innings Eater.  Jackson has started 19 games this season.  He has gone for six or more innings in 14 of those contests.  He has never pitched fewer than four innings.  Jackson in the rotation will reduce the bullpen's workload by about 40-50 innings for the rest of the season.  That's not chopped liver, and could pay big dividends.

- Low Home Run Rate. Jackson has given up only eight diners in 121 innings this year.  His opponents are not beating him with the long ball. 

- A Deceptive Record.  Jackson has gotten pretty shabby run support for many of his outings.  In four of his seven losses, his team scored zero runs.  In another two, his team scored one run.  He didn't always pitch well, but his team frequently was doing little to bail him out.

- An Upgrade. I like McClellan, but Jackson is a reasonable upgrade.  He's going to go deeper into games.  And he's going to pitch with more consistency.  He's probably not better than a #3 starter, but should still be enough to keep the Cardinals ahead in the central.

- The Colby Factor. I'm drifting into the land of opinion, but I can only assume this is an example of addition by subtraction.  The Cards were frustrated with Colby's randomness, his insistence on working with his father, and some clubhouse surliness.  The Cardinals do have other outfield options that include Jay and Craig (when he returns) that could match Rasmus's production.  So in theory, this isn't a sinker of a deal.

All of that said, I'm still not convinced this was the best offer we could get.  I would have been a lot more content with Shields or Hellickson from the Rays, for example.  But as angry as people are, we don't know the full matrix of decisions the Cardinals are working from.  I can only assume (hope?) this fits into the long-term plan of the organization.  What do you guys think?

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