Analyzing the Jackson deal
Now that we know the three-way blockbuster is complete pending review of medical reports, let’s take a closer look at some questions that either popped into my mind or into my inbox:
How good is Ian Kennedy?
Kennedy is a one-time No. 1 pick who missed much of last season after having surgery to take care of an aneurysm under his right armpit May 12. He pitched in four Minor League games for Scranton last year and made one appearance for the Yankees and tossed a scoreless inning.
The D-backs got a long look at him in the Arizona Fall League and liked what they saw. His fastball can reach the low 90s and he’s got a good curve to go along with his change and also throws a slider.
It seems the D-backs are higher on him than the majority of teams out there, but they feel pretty strongly about him so we’ll see how he pans out for them as their No. 4 starter next year.
Why would they give up Max Scherzer?
While there’s no questioning Scherzer’s potential, there are several hurdles still for him to get past in order to reach it.
The right-hander still needs to improve his pitch efficiency so that he can pitch deeper in games, needs to further develop his secondary pitches and also needs to show that he can cross the 200-inning barrier.
The D-backs must have felt that the above were real challenges for him and felt more comfortable with the combination of Edwin Jackson and Kennedy.
As for Schlereth, the potential is there, but there have always been concerns about his command.
What does this mean for the rest of their offseason?
They certainly are not done. When you factor in the salaries of the players involved as well as the prorated signing bonus of Scherzer the deal wound increasing the D-backs’ payroll about $4.25 million. That leaves them still with around $6 million to spend.
It’s likely that they will turn their attention to adding to the bullpen while also possibly adding a position player to strengthen the bench.
What position will they be looking to add?
It seems at this point they are flexible in that regard. With a versatile roster — is Conor Jackson going to play left or first — they have the ability to fit in just about any player into their plans.
What’s the bottom line?
If Kennedy pans out like the D-backs think he will and Jackson gives them two good years before becoming a free agent then this will wind up being a good deal for the D-backs. Is there risk involved in giving up someone with Scherzer’s ability? Absolutely and the D-backs are well aware of that. In their eyes this trade gives them a two-for-one in terms of pitchers and allows them to spend money they were going to have to spend on a fourth starter instead on improving the bullpen and the offense.
In the end you have to trust your scouts and if the D-backs feel as strongly as they do about Kennedy they have to follow that.