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White Sox Sun Aug 01 2010

Sox Close Out Busy Weekend With More Wins

SoxLogoSmall.jpegIt's been a busy few days for the first-place Chicago White Sox, what with the passing of the non-waiver trading deadline and the conclusion of a wildly successful seven-game homestand against Seattle and Oakland. And of course, Ozzie closed it out with a sermon on race in baseball.

The weekend drama kicked into high gear when the Sox traded young pitchers Dan Hudson and David Holmberg to Arizona for right-hander Edwin Jackson, a 26-year-old veteran of (now) five teams in eight years who pretty much defines "unharnessed potential." He's the guy who no-hit Tampa Bay in June but needed 149 pitches because he also walked eight batters.

But the story behind the story was equally compelling.

Folks throughout baseball were buzzing that the Sox had acquired Jackson only because they had a deal to flip him to Washington for Adam Dunn -- and then Nationals GM Mike Rizzo reneged on that agreement.

Whatever the specifics, Kenny Williams was none too pleased, popping off about the so-called new breed of GMs and their underhanded way of doing business.

Kenny had to like the results on the field, though, as the Sox finished off a four-game sweep of woeful Seattle and took two of three games from slightly-less-woeful Oakland. Gavin Floyd dazzled the A's in Sunday's rubber game, and even Lucas Harrell earned a win in his major-league debut Friday after being called up from Charlotte to start in Hudson's place.

So what now? Chicago (59-45) and Minnesota (59-46) still are neck-and-neck atop the AL Central, with Detroit now seven games back after losing 14 of 18 since the break. And it's the injury-riddled Tigers who come up next on the schedule: Four games at Comerica Park, starting with two on Tuesday.

What can we expect from Jackson in his first Sox start on Wednesday? Jim Margalus at Sox Machine dug into the numbers, while ESPN analyst Keith Law gave the trade a tepid review.

Law pegged Hudson as not more than a potential fourth starter in the National League -- though the kid did have a great Arizona debut Sunday -- but he isn't thrilled about Jackson either:

[Jackson is] only a marginal upgrade over Hudson the rest of the way even though he has significantly better raw stuff. He has a plus fastball and holds his velocity deep into games but doesn't miss as many bats as he should. His command is stubbornly below average, and he is leaving one park where he has been homer-prone for a ballpark that's even worse for home runs. Jackson's under contract for $8.35 million next year (per Cot's), close to full price given his track record.

That said, White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper has an excellent track record of improving pitchers, young or veteran, who come under his tutelage, often by getting them to add a cutter to their repertoires. I wouldn't rule out a guy with Jackson's stuff finally figuring it out in Chicago ... but I wouldn't bet on it, either.

Want more on Ozzie's speech about how baseball treats Latino players? I agree with Scott Merkin of MLB.com that it's not worth front-page coverage -- or these days, homepage coverage -- but he's got a good rundown of the issues if you're interested.

 
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