07/30/10 8:23 PM ET
D-backs get righty Hudson from White Sox
Send Jackson to Chicago; also get Minor League lefty Holmberg
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
The move came less than a week after the team dealt ace Dan Haren to the Angels in exchange for Joe Saunders and three Minor League pitchers.
"We just felt like this was a great opportunity for us to look forward toward the future with a guy like Daniel Hudson and even further into the future with a prospect the likes of David Holmberg," D-backs interim general manager Jerry Dipoto said.
Hudson was the key piece to the deal for the D-backs, who see him as a top three starter in a rotation. The 23-year-old throws a fastball in the low-to-mid-90s range with a slider and a changeup.
"There is no reason, whether through physical stuff or Minor League performance, to suggest that he's not going to grow into a pitcher that can fit into the top half of a Major League staff," Dipoto said.
Hudson was selected by Chicago in the fifth round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft and rose quickly through the Sox system. The right-hander started at Class A in 2009 before shooting all the way up to the Major Leagues by season's end.
|The D-backs may have traded Edwin Jackson away to the White Sox, but they got two young arms in return. Here's some more information on Dan Hudson and David Holmberg.|
Hudson, 23 years old, was a fifth-round pick of the White Sox in 2008. In his first full season, he made a bee-line through Chicago's system, starting in the Class A South Atlantic League and finishing in the big leagues. He was named MLB.com's Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year for pitching at four levels and going 14-5 with a 2.32 ERA in 26 starts. He struck out 166 and walked only 34 while holding hitters to a .200 average in 147 1/3 IP. He made it up to the big leagues last year and had a 3.38 ERA in six games, two of them starts.
Hudson competed for a job in the rotation this spring, but got sent down to Triple-A to start the year instead. After a rough April, he turned it around and was 11-4 with a 3.47 ERA when he was called up to take Jake Peavy's spot in the rotation.
Hudson gets success with a three-pitch mix and excellent command. All of his stuff plays up because of deception in his delivery. He's got an excellent fastball, up to 93 mph, with plus life. He has the potential to have an average slider with a changeup that grades out as plus right now. He hasn't had overwhelming success at the big league level, but his stuff has been just as good as it's always been. He'll step right into the D-backs rotation.
If Hudson is the "now" part, Holmberg is the "later" part. The 2009 second-rounder had been pitching with Great Falls in the Pioneer League, making eight starts and posting a 4.46 ERA in 40 1/3 innings. The D-backs really liked the 19-year-old lefty coming out of high school in Florida.
He doesn't have plus stuff, but he really knows how to pitch. He has four pitches in his arsenal. He throws his fastball in the 87-90 mph range, typically sitting at 87-88 mph. His curve and changeup are his best secondary pitches. He also has a slider which isn't purely developed or defined. His fastball plays up because of his angle -- he uses every inch of his 6-foot-4 frame. Like with most young pitchers, he needs to improve his fastball command.
-- Jonathan Mayo
"I think Hudson in time is going to be really good," Sox reliever Matt Thornton said. "He has some learning to do about how to pitch at the big league level. He has to throw strikes and get after hitters. The sample size for us was small but he showed at times how dominant he's going to be. I think he will be a really good one for them."
Holmberg, 19, was Chicago's second-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. In eight games for Rookie Great Falls of the Northwest League this year, he is 1-1 with a 4.46 ERA.
Holmberg, like Hudson, is a big-bodied pitcher with a fastball, curve, change and a slider, though it is not really developed. He was a guy the D-backs looked at taking in the Draft.
"We felt strongly about him being a second part of the trade," Dipoto said. "He's a great distance from the Major League level, but a young man that can join our system and really add a lot of depth and again future upside."
When he took over for Josh Byrnes on July 1, Dipoto talked about shuffling the deck on a big league roster that had underperformed for the better part of two seasons. At the same time, he said he wanted to restock a farm system that had grown barren at the top levels after numerous trades and promotions.
With the Haren and Jackson deals, the D-backs have gotten back six pitchers, two of which immediately enter the rotation (Saunders and Hudson), one of which gives them depth at Triple-A (Rafael Rodriguez) and the others (Patrick Corbin, Tyler Skaggs and Holmberg) adding pitching depth throughout the system.
Haren's $12.75 million obligation for next year and 2012 comes off the books as does the $8.35 million owed to Jackson in 2011. Saunders, who is arbitration-eligible, will likely eat up $6 million of that savings, but the team still will have money to add parts during the offseason.
"We're a last place team and have been for two years," Dipoto said. "So this is an opportunity to address our goals, which are to put a quality Major League club on the field, and we want to go out there and create more depth as we head into the offseason, and in order to do that we had to shift pieces in place."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.