Late last night, while much of the news cycle was devoted to Sen.-elect Scott Brown’s stunning victory in Massachusetts, the Pirates slipped a roster move into my e-mail bucket. Reliever Steven Jackson was designated for assignment and outfielder Ryan Church — who had agreed to a one-year contract last week — officially was added to the 40-man roster.
The Pirates still could work out a trade involving Jackson, perhaps even a 2-for-1 swap involving, say, newly acquired outfielder Brendan Jones. It’s also possible the Pirates will lose Jackson on waivers.
GM Neal Huntington hoped to put together some sort of trade yesterday to clear roster space. He’ll need an opening if the deal with free agent Octavio Dotel comes to fruition.
This morning, Huntington sent an e-mail which explained management’s thought process on the Jackson move. It’s useful insight into other decisions made by the front office.
“As we worked through our roster move options with the 29 other clubs, some clubs expressed interest in other players but they did not have enough interest that we were able to work out a small trade,” Huntington wrote.
Last season, Jackson pitched in 40 games and put up a respectable 3.14 ERA and 1.395 WHIP. Yet, Huntington cautioned against getting too excited about Jackson’s stats.
“Reliever ERA is one of the worst ways to evaluate a relief pitcher,” Huntington wrote. “As we evaluate the big picture, there are numbers behind the numbers that indicate it is very unlikely he will post a similar ERA in 2010. As we compare his probable role and stuff package to others in the organization, we feel we have depth to overcome his loss if that is indeed the case.”
If there are no takers for Jackson, he will be outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis and go to spring training as a non-roster invitee. Jackson has two minor league options remaining.
“As an organization, we value a player that has a chance to be a starting pitcher or an everyday position player over a middle reliever,” Huntington wrote. “We work to remain consistent in our approach and evaluations and not let performance spikes (positive or negative) overly influence our decision making process.”