The Oakland A’s traded pitcher Edwin Jackson to the Blue Jays on Saturday, the team announced. In exchange, Toronto sent cash considerations.
Jackson pitched in the A’s rotation last season, making 17 starts and posting a 3.33 ERA. Despite the solid showing, though, he went unsigned over the offseason, and Oakland picked him back up in mid-April on a minor league contract.
Jackson, 2018: 3.33 ERA, 92 ip, 68 Ks, 37 BB, 12 HR, 4.65 FIP
Since re-signing with Oakland, Jackson has spent the last month tuning up in the minors. Most recently he made two starts for Triple-A Las Vegas, allowing a total of nine runs in 9⅔ innings to go along with seven walks and three homers. He had an opt-out clause in his contract at the end of the month, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle.
The 35-year-old is set to make his season debut for the Blue Jays on Wednesday against the Giants, reports insider Hazel Mae. When he does, he will set a record by playing for his 14th different MLB team, a distinction he currently shares with fellow former A’s pitcher Octavio Dotel. Jackson has actually been on the Blue Jays before, for part of one day in July 2011, but after Toronto acquired him he was flipped to the Cardinals hours later, the last time he’d been dealt until now. In an incredible coincidence, Dotel himself was also part of that 2011 trade to St. Louis, where both pitchers earned rings at year’s end.
The A’s rotation entered the season as a huge question mark, but they’ve looked strong lately. Frankie Montas and Chris Bassitt have sub-3.00 ERAs, Mike Fiers threw a no-hitter last week, and Brett Anderson has kept the team in almost all of his starts. Aaron Brooks has been knocked around a bit, but Daniel Mengden will make his season debut Sunday after dominating in Triple-A.
The opt-out clause gave three weeks for the A’s to get Jackson up to the majors. Even with the rotation looking settled right now, I’m still surprised this didn’t happen a week or two later than it did. Stuff can still go wrong between now and the end of the month, such that some more MLB-caliber rotation depth would be useful.
But clearly the A’s had decided that it wasn’t going to happen for Jackson this time around. Between the emergence of Bassitt, plus Mengden earning the next turn with his own performance, and Jackson himself getting torched in his two starts for Vegas, the chances were growing slim of Oakland needing to reach this far down the depth chart in the next few weeks. Paul Blackburn also stands as viable depth in the Triple-A rotation, while several injured pitchers are steadily making their way toward midseason returns to action.
Good luck in Toronto, Edwin! And congrats on your impending MLB record!
UPDATE: Here’s what manager Bob Melvin had to say after the game:
“More than anything, it was a big league job, and we weren’t gonna stand in his way. We didn’t have it for him right now, and we think so much of him that if he’s got an opportunity to go to the big leagues right now then we’re not gonna stand in his way. ... We love him here, who knows how the season plays out. But it was more about getting him a big league job.”