Big trade news today, as the White Sox, Blue Jays, and Cardinals have swapped a total of 6 players. The primary moves are starter Edwin Jackson going from Chicago to Toronto, and then getting flipped to St. Louis for Colby Rasmus. Who made out with what?
Acquired: 24 year-old right-handed pitching prospect Zach Stewart and reliever Jason Frasor
Dealt: starter Edwin Jackson and third-baseman Mark Teahan
Given that the Sox are only 4.5 games out of first in the AL Central, I'm not sure why they're selling. They're not really a worse team than the Tigers or Indians, and having guys like Adam Dun and Alex Rios not being so terrible (I'm not even saying good - just not this bad) down the stretch could very easily have pushed them into the playoffs.
That said, this isn't a bad deal for them. They clear out some payroll for 2012 while upgrading from the useless Teahan to a decent bullpen arm in Frasor (assuming they pick up his option). If they don't think that they're going to be competitive for the rest of 2011, then cashing in free agent-to-be Edwin Jackson for a fine prospect in Stewart is solid.
Acquired: Jackson, reliever Octavio Dotel, and pitcher Marc Rzepczynski
Dealt: outfielder Colby Rasmus
I don't know why the Card's were pushing to trade Rasmus (besides whatever behind the scenes stuff he has going on with Tony La Russa). He's a 24 year-old outfielder with a career .259/.334/.444 batting line. He walks. He hits for some power. He's cut down on his strike-outs this year. He's under team control through 2014. His center-field defense may leave a bit to be desired, but Rasmus seems like he'd hit well enough to play a corner with at least an average glove. That's a player who's not only good but (still) cheap.
Dotel has been fine out of the pen this year, and is a free agent. Rzepczynski seems like a decent back of the rotation arm in the NL (he's been used as a reliever this year). Jackson ill obviously help the rotation as the Card's go for the NL Central crown in 2011. But overall, it seems like the Cardinals improved themselves by maybe a couple wins this year at the cost of trading Rasmus for Rzepczynski in the longer term. And that doesn't look like a particularly good deal to me.
Acquired: Colby Rasmus, Mark Teahan
Dealt: Zach Stewart, Jason Frasor, Octavio Dotel, and Marc Rzepczynski
The Jays basically used three relievers to upgrade from a 24 year-old pitcher with 3 career major league starts (with a 4.86 ERA) to a 24 year-old outfielder with 385 major league games under his belt who's already established himself as an above average player. Seems good.
Edit: It's actually Rasmus, plus pitchers Trevor Miller, Brian Tallet, and PJ Walters going to Toronto, with Corey Patterson (and three players to be named later or cash considerations) also coming back the other way. Doesn't change the calculus much.
So the reasoning behind why the White Sox and Cardinals made their moves looks a little fishy, Chicago's trade at least seems OK in a vacuum, while the Blue Jays more or less cleaned up.