CHICAGO -- The final step to convince the White Sox that trading for right-hander Edwin Jackson was in their best interest was a one-hour video session pitching coach Don Cooper sat through one day before the deal went down.
The White Sox announced Friday afternoon they had acquired the up-and-down pitcher, in exchange for right-hander Daniel Hudson and minor-league left-hander David Holmberg.
But it was on Thursday when Cooper first pinpointed a mechanical fix the White Sox can use to help turn around the National League’s leader in earned runs (77) and wild pitches (13). The team was comfortable making the trade after that.
“It’s a move for today with our thinking that we could get Edwin back to where he was two years ago with just one little adjustment,” general manager Ken Williams said. “And we’ve got him for next year to add to a rotation that includes (Jake) Peavy, and Jackson surrounded by (Mark) Buehrle, (John) Danks and (Gavin) Floyd, so it positions us for next year as well.”
Cooper admitted that it may have been a fix the Diamondbacks already tried, but he will take a stab at it as well. Without being specific, Cooper saw something that Jackson has been doing in the starts he had with success that he didn’t do when he was struggling.
Jackson was both brilliant and shaky in a June 28 start against the Tampa Bay Rays, throwing a no-hitter while walking eight and needing 149 pitches to do it.
“If I had to look at numbers, and I took a quick glance at numbers, career numbers, ground ball, fly ball, where he’s pitched well, where he hasn’t pitched well, some video, it looks like the two columns we have to get better control of are the walk column and the home-run column,” Cooper said. “And obviously pitching in this park, compared to where he pitched last year in Detroit, this one plays a lot smaller.”
Using the first three pitches to get ahead of the count is the strategy Cooper will use first when Jackson arrives. He is expected to make his White Sox debut on Wednesday at Detroit Tigers. He pitched for the Tigers last year after three years at Tampa Bay.
“Last time he pitched against his former teammates he pitched a no-hitter so I expect the same thing (Wednesday),” manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Williams said earlier in the week that when he makes a move, particularly one at the trade deadline, one of the reasons, aside from improving the club, is to give a sense to the players on the team that a definite upgrade has arrived. Despite Jackson’s 6-10 record and 5.16 ERA, he thinks he has done that.
As for the idea that he will now flip Jackson for the left-handed power bat the White Sox have been seeking, Williams gave it a 95 percent chance that won’t happen.
“I still have to reserve that one percent chance, five percent chance that something will materialize that will make the team as a whole better, and you always have to be in search of that,” Williams said. “So when I spoke with him, I said ‘Listen, you’re going to hear your name over the next 24 hours bantered about in a three-way deal that’s been bantered about for a month. So this is just going to accelerate it,’
“But if I had my choice, he would be planning on pitching on Wednesday. But everything we’re doing, we’re looking to add and not subtract.”