CHICAGO -- Wednesday's White Sox trade of Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen to the Blue Jays can be looked at from two very distinctive viewpoints, depending on whether one believes this team can win the American League Central.
For those who think the South Siders don't have what it takes to catch the Tigers, then Wednesday's deal looks like the beginning of a potential fire sale. But those who believe that the White Sox can capture a winnable division, without a force sitting at the top, then this move actually could be viewed as strengthening the South Siders' cause.
In return for the right-handed starter and utility player, the White Sox received right-handed reliever Jason Frasor and Minor League hurler Zach Stewart. White Sox general manager Ken Williams spoke of Stewart as a player he's been watching for the last couple of seasons, a pitcher who could work in the Majors before the end of the 2011 season, but Frasor is clearly the key to this maneuver.
Frasor, 34, supplements an already strong White Sox relief crew, especially easing the workload for right-handed setup man Jesse Crain.
"We began to get worried about Jesse Crain's overusage," Williams said. "Not that he is being overused, but the potential is when you get into August and September, you tax a guy, he becomes ineffective and you might end up hurting him. Now, we've insulated ourselves against that."
"I wish I had Frasor before we faced them in Toronto," said a smiling White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen of the right-hander, who had a 2.98 ERA over 44 games for the Blue Jays. "But I think this kid is one of the best out there. I think he's going to help this year, next year. When we use [Sergio] Santos as closer, we were one right-handed man short in the bullpen. That's why I like that decision."
The White Sox already have received calls on Frasor, according to Williams, but they have no intention on flipping the native of Oak Forest, Ill., a southwest suburb about 35 minutes from U.S. Cellular Field. The team holds a $3.75 million option on Frasor for 2012.
who's going where?
A look at which players went where in the three-team, 11-player trade between the Cardinals, Blue Jays and White Sox:
3 PTBNL or cash
In moving Jackson, the White Sox traded from a position of apparent strength. They have been using a six-man rotation for much of the time since Jake Peavy returned on May 11, and now will be counting on Peavy and Philip Humber to fill out this starting five for the final two months of this season.
Jackson previously has been traded by the Dodgers, Rays, Tigers and D-backs, and was then flipped by the Blue Jays to the Cardinals as part of a deal for Colby Rasmus later on Wednesday. A free agent after the 2011 season, the Scott Boras client was unlikely to return to the White Sox.
So, he calmly received the news and shook hands with his teammates before leaving behind his latest team.
"You leave a great group of guys," said Jackson, whose trade value increased after giving up just two runs in the last 15 innings. "But at the end of the day, it's nothing I can control. The only thing I can do is pitch for the team I'm with and help that team win."
"Let me just say this. Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen are the consummate professionals," Williams said. "Just good guys and good workers, but we needed to make a little bit of a dent in our payroll here, which has been stressed a little bit."
That payroll reached a franchise-record $127 million with the club's offseason additions. But this underachieving team has not responded on the field, and the fans have not responded at the gate.
By moving Teahen and Jackson, the White Sox were able to save approximately $9.5 million, with Teahen still owed $5.5 million for 2012.
"I'm not overly surprised, I understand the move," Teahen said. "I wasn't being used a whole lot, and we, the White Sox, go back to a five-man rotation now and they get a piece in Frasor that will help them out. So the move makes sense."
Teahen's subtraction from the roster means the White Sox were able to call up Alejandro De Aza from Triple-A Charlotte and insert him in Wednesday afternoon's starting lineup in center field. De Aza could cut into a struggling Alex Rios' playing time over the final 60 games, with Williams telling Guillen on Wednesday to simply worry about playing the individuals who give the team the best chance to win.
Third base will be manned by rookie Brent Morel and ageless veteran Omar Vizquel, but the White Sox could still get creative before Sunday's 3 p.m. CT Trade Deadline and add another significant piece. Of course, they also could make more moves trying to build for the future while keeping some semblance of a division title hope alive for 2011.
"They've been going at it hard. It's been encouraging," said Williams of his current team. "I even found encouragement in last night's loss because they battled their tails off. Justin Verlander is a tough dude out there. We had some guys shorten their swings and battle at-bat after at-bat and we had a chance to win.
"That's all you can hope for. We keep getting that kind of intensity, I think we are more likely to stick with the situation than to go the direction I mentioned the other day. Let's wait until we get to Sunday."