Former White Sox and Cubs pitcher makes history

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AP

Former White Sox and Cubs pitcher makes history

He’s a man of many hats. Former White Sox and Cubs pitcher Edwin Jackson takes the mound today on a whirlwind of occasions.

Jackson is known as a journeymen in MLB. His career started when he was drafted in 2001 by the Dodgers.

His stint with the Dodgers didn’t last long after Jackson was traded to the Rays just three seasons after he was drafted.

However, there was plenty more traveling to do for Jackson.

Fast forward 15 seasons, Jackson is tying a record and celebrating history. As of yesterday, the A’s called up Jackson to join their rotation making this his 13th MLB team, tying former reliever Octavio Dotel’s record.

Jackson signed a minor league contract with the Oakland A’s on June 6 to their Triple-A affiliate Nashville Sounds.

How coincidental is this. On this date eight years ago, Jackson is celebrating his no hit bid he threw as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks against the Rays.

In that game, Jackson threw 149 pitches. Now a days, that’s unheard of. In 1-0 win, Jackson threw 70 pitches in just three innings, but still pulled it off.

Jackson also walked eight hitters in the game, and that marks just the second no-hitter in Diamondbacks history. The first was Hall of Famer Randy Johnson.

Before Jackson joined the Cubs, he was traded to the White Sox from the Diamondbacks in 2010.

In his tenure with the Sox, he went 11-9, 3.66 ERA, 134 BB, and 174 strikeouts.

Two years later, Jackson signed with the Cubs on a four-year $52 million dollar contract. But, Jackson never lived up to the hype.

In his first season as a Cub in 2013, he finished 8-18 with a 4.98 ERA. The year to follow, he was just as bad.

Jackson finished with a 6-15 record with a 6.33 ERA. By the end of the 2015 season, the Cubs released Jackson eating the remaining $13 million of his contract.

While the experiment didn’t work for the Cubs, he’s played for six different teams since being released.

Jackson has his fair share of struggles, but he did make the MLB All-Star team in 2009, and won a World Series in 2011.

 

Cubs opposition research: Are the Diamondbacks primed for another big season?

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AP

Cubs opposition research: Are the Diamondbacks primed for another big season?

The expectations couldn't be any higher for the 2018 Chicago Cubs. 

It's 2016 all over again. The goal isn't just a trip to the playoffs or another NL pennant. It's World Series or bust for this group of North Siders.

With that, let's take a look at all of the teams that could stand in the way of the Cubs getting back to the Fall Classic:

Arizona Diamondbacks

2017 record: 93-69, second place in NL West

Offseason additions: Steven Souza Jr., Alex Avila, Jarrod Dyson, Brad Boxberger, Yoshihisa Hirano, Fernando Salas, Albert Suarez, Neftali Feliz, Antonio Bastardo

Offseason departures: J.D. Martinez, Chris Iannetta, Adam Rosales, Gregor Blanco, David Hernandez, Fernando Rodney, Brandon Drury, Anthony Banda

X-factor: A.J. Pollock

What happened to the guy that enjoyed the breakout 2015 season?

The dyanmic centerfielder was one of the best players in the game that year, finishing in the Top 15 in NL MVP, earning a trip to the All-Star Game and winning a Gold Glove. He hit .315 with an .865 OPS, scored 111 runs, hit 20 homers and stole 39 bases while racking up 7.4 WAR in 157 games.

But Pollock has fallen on some tough times since then. Slowed by injuries the last two years, he's appeared in just 124 games since that 2015 campaign, posting a .264 AVG and .794 OPS. 

In his final year before free agency, Pollock will need to remain healthy and performing at the 2015 level if the Diamondbacks are going to have a repeat trip to the postseason. 

Projected lineup

1. David Peralta - LF
2. A.J. Pollock - CF
3. Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
4. Jake Lamb - 3B
5. Steven Souza Jr. - RF
6. Alex Avila - C
7. Ketel Marte - 2B
8. Nick Ahmed - SS

Projected rotation

1. Zack Greinke
2. Robbie Ray
3. Taijuan Walker
4. Patrick Corbin
5. Zack Godley 

Outlook

This lineup is still very good, but the loss of Martinez will hurt. Souza has a nice blend of power and speed and is a better defender than Martinez, but losing that absurd kind of power behind Goldschmidt is impossible to replace.

Health will be key for this team, as there isn't a ton of depth beyond the main players. Jarrod Dyson is a great fourth outfielder, but he's also 33 and on the downspiral in his greatest asset: speed.

Lamb and Peralta tear up right-handed pitching, but both are susceptible to lefties and serve in more of a platoon role. Goldschmidt is one of the best players in the game and Pollock has the potential to join that conversation. Marte may also be on the verge of a breakout.

The pitching staff has question marks. The bullpen lost Rodney and Hernandez, gaining a host of unknowns in the process. Archie Bradley has never closed before and Boxberger provides some experience there, but things are not very stable beyond those two.

The starting rotation was very good in 2017, but will need a repeat performance if they're going to once again make it to the NLDS. Former Cubs prospect Godley has impressed and Ray is one of the best strikeout artists in the game, but Greinke is getting up there in age (34) and Corbin has been inconsistent the last few years.

So much went right for the Diamondbacks last year and while their window of contention is open right now, the question is: For how long?

Prediction: Third place in NL West, just misses second wild card spot

Complete opposition research

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Arizona Diamondbacks
Colorado Rockies
San Diego Padres
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves
New York Mets

 

White Sox add prospect with intriguing power potential

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USA TODAY

White Sox add prospect with intriguing power potential

The White Sox already boast one of the most loaded farm systems in all of baseball, and on Saturday they added another interesting prospect to their stable. 

The South Siders claimed outfielder/first baseman Daniel Palka off waivers from the Minnesota Twins. Palka was placed on waivers earlier this week after the Twins had to trim their 40-man roster.

Palka, who was a third-round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks out of Georgia Tech in 2013, was the Twins' Hitting Prospect of the Year in 2016 after slashing .254/.327/.521 with 34 home runs and 90 RBI.

The left-handed hitting Palka slashed .274/.330/.431 with 12 home runs and 44 RBI in 90 games between the Gulf Coast League and Triple-A Rochester in 2017. 

Palka, 26, has a career minor-league slash line of .269/.343/.496 with 106 home runs and 354 RBI in 538 games.

Considered a bat-first prospect, Palka possesses raw plus power. Check out his scouting report from MLB Pipeline.

Here are some highlights showing why scouts are intrigued by Palka's power potential.

A two time MiLB.com All-Star, Palka was ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Twins' No. 22 prospect before he was claimed off waivers by the White Sox.

The White Sox 40-man roster now stands at 35 after Saturday's move.