Stuck between a sub-.500 record, a mere 4½-game deficit in the AL Central, an "All In" payroll of close to $130 million and GM Kenny Williams' (and owner Jerry Reinsdorf's) waning patience, the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday traded starter Edwin Jackson(notes) and third baseman Mark Teahen(notes) to the Toronto Blue Jays for reliever Jason Frasor(notes) and starter Zach Stewart(notes).. It was the move that set off a staggering eight-man trade between the Blue Jays and St. Louis Cardinals.
With an eye on one day competing in the rugged AL East, the Blue Jays, according to reports, were set to flip Jackson, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, along with relievers Octavio Dotel(notes) and Marc Rzepczynski(notes) and outfielder Corey Patterson(notes) to the St. Louis Cardinals for athletic and enigmatic outfielder Colby Rasmus(notes) and pitchers Brian Tallet(notes), P.J. Walters(notes) and Trever Miller(notes).
Edwin Jackson will join his sixth team in his nine-year career. He has a career 55-58 record.
In a logjam atop the NL Central with the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates, and with the Cincinnati Reds not far behind, the Cardinals improved a pitching staff that was rebuilt after the loss of Adam Wainwright(notes) and reworked their bullpen, but cut ties with the talented Rasmus.
While the trade does not signal surrender for the White Sox – their rotation remains five strong with Jake Peavy(notes), Mark Buehrle(notes), John Danks(notes), Gavin Floyd(notes) and Phil Humber, with now Stewart on the periphery – there remains a sense in the industry the White Sox are not finished dealing.
Frasor was among the most sought relievers at the deadline. The veteran right-hander was 2-1 with a 2.98 ERA in 44 appearances for the Blue Jays. Stewart, who two years ago was traded by the Cincinnati Reds to Toronto in the Scott Rolen(notes) deal, was 0-1 with a 4.86 ERA in three starts for the Blue Jays.
Jackson (7-7, 3.92 ERA) was of no long-term consequence for the Blue Jays, 13 games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox and 11 behind the New York Yankees. He would, however, upgrade the Cardinals' rotation.
After enduring nearly three seasons of a sometimes prickly relationship with Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and superstar first baseman Albert Pujols(notes), Rasmus becomes the center fielder of the future for the Blue Jays. The former first-rounder, supposedly more comfortable in his third big league season, started the season well, batting .301 in April. His average fell steadily, however, to .213 in June and .182 in July, so that he was losing playing time recently to John Jay.
In what could be La Russa's and Pujols' final seasons in St. Louis, the Cardinals struck four days before the trading deadline with a deal that by season's end could leave them with little for Rasmus. But, the lure of a beefier pitching staff down the stretch – the Brewers bolstered their bullpen with Francisco Rodriguez earlier in the month – was enough to convince them to part with Rasmus.
Ultimately, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos acquired Rasmus and Teahen for pitchers Stewart, Frasor, Dotel and Rzepczynski.