Though it hardly qualified as a blockbuster, the Red Sox were active on the trade market late Wednesday night, obtaining outfielder Conor Jackson from the Oakland A's in exchange for minor-league pitcher Jason Rice.
Jackson, 29, will be added to the Red Sox' expanded roster and is expected to join the club Thursday. Jackson is making $3.2 million this season and Oakland agreed to include an unspecified amount of money to help defray the approximate $500,000 remaining on his deal this season.
"It's awesome," Jackson told reporters in Cleveland, where the A's were playing, upon hearing of the trade. "I don't think a guy in my position could
ask for anything better - a big-market team with probably the best fans
As is often the case, at the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31st, this deal, too, came minutes before the deadline to obtain players who will be eligible for postseason play.
Dating back to July, the Red Sox had been in the market for a right-handed hitting outfielder, a role Jackson fills. The Sox have had poor production from their right-fielders, notably J.D. Drew, who struggled for the first three-and-a-half months before being sidelined in July by a left shoulder impingement. Josh Reddick has filled in for Drew in right but has plateaued sharply in recent weeks while showing some deficiencies in right field.
Until Jackson's acquisition, Darnell McDonald was the team's lone right-handed outfielder. He, too, has been subpar offensively and though he has shown better power in the second half, his average remains under .200.
Jackson began his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks before being dealt to Oakland in 2010. A first baseman to start his career, he's played more outfield -- and is considered an average defender -- in recent seasons.
Jackson is a career .272 hitter with an on-base percentage of .352. He's also hit 51 homers to go along with 290 RBI and 289 runs. With Oakland this season, Jackson is hitting .249 (.315 OBP) in 102 games, with 4 homers and 38 RBI. Against lefties this season, Jackson is hitting .254 (.333 OBP) in 122 at-bats including ten doubles and 10 RBI.
Rice, 25, was obtained from the Chicago White Sox organization through the minor league Rule 5 Draft in December of 2008. This year, he had appeared in 44 games -- all but one in relief -- at Pawtucket, posting a 4-5 record with four saves and an ERA of 3.69. Rice fanned 89 batters in 85.1 innings and batters hit just .238 against him but command was an issue with 42 walks.
The deal comes exactly a month to the day since the Red Sox and A's originally consummated then cancelled a deal that would have sent starting pitcher Rich Harden to Boston in exchange for Lars Anderson and a player to be named later. The Red Sox knew Harden's shoulder was problematic but a review of his medical records, provided to finalize the deal, proved more worrisome than even they had believed, causing the Red Sox to pull out of the deal and angering Oakland's general manager Billy Beane.
Bobby Jenks, currently suffering from an illness, was moved to the 60-day DL to make room for Jackson.