Does adding a pitcher with a 5.16 ERA to your rotation ever work?
Sure. One year ago the Twins added Carl Pavano (5.37) to their rotation. He helped them reach the playoffs, pitched seven excellent innings in his postseason start, and today he's 13-6 with a 3.21 ERA.
So, yeah. It does happen.
I'm not convinced that Edwin Jackson is the new Pavano, though. When the Twins traded for him, his strikeout-to-walk ratio was 3.83; his ERA was elevated because he'd given up a few extra home runs (and probably hadn't gotten much help from his bullpen). Meanwhile, Edwin Jackson probably deserves his 5.16 ERA. His 1.73 strikeout-to-walk ratio is right in line with his career mark (1.60) and isn't likely to improve upon returning to the American League.
The White Sox presumably are hoping that Jackson's solid 2009 predicts his future better than the rest of his career does. Maybe they're right. He's still only 26, and Chicago's coaching staff has worked wonders with Gavin Floyd.
It seems a strange move, though, doesn't it? Considering Daniel Hudson's youth and talents? Maybe pitching coach Don Cooper has seen something in Hudson's three (!) starts he just didn't like?
- Hudson, 23, rocketed up Chicago's farm system last year with "three solid pitches and natural deception," according to Baseball America. He's spent most of this season in Triple A, posting a 3.47 ERA, 10.4 K/9, and 3.0 BB/9 with 13 home runs allowed in 93.3 innings. The D'Backs have to be concerned that their revamped rotation is built around young flyball pitchers, with Ian Kennedy and Joe Saunders already in the fold. The D'Backs will have Hudson under team control through 2016 even if they keep him in the Majors the rest of the season.
I'm not a big Saunders fan, but if you're trying to rebuild your rotation, Kennedy and Hudson are a pretty good start.