MILWAUKEE, WI - Edwin Jackson #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Edwin Jackson, Puppet Master. Jackson has plans for this postseason. He's the man behind the scenes, setting everything up to suit him in some way. He's Littlefinger from Game of Thrones, or Tom Regan from Miller's Crossing. He has something planned, and we don't know what it is.
There isn't a player in the game today who is messing around with the 2011 playoffs quite like Jackson. Consider that without Jackson, the Diamondbacks wouldn't have Ian Kennedy (acquired in a three-team deal with Jackson) or Daniel Hudson (later acquired for Jackson). The Yankees might not have Curtis Granderson (acquired in that three-team deal). And the Tigers would not have Max Scherzer, while the White Sox would still have Hudson.
The three-team deal that was made in 2009 will help three different teams into the playoffs in different ways. None of those ways involved keeping Jackson, of course. He's adept at pitching well after deadline deals, only to watch his team slink out of the race (2010 White Sox, 2011 Cardinals) despite his best efforts. He's not the primary reason the Yankees, Diamondbacks, or Tigers are going to make the playoffs; he's just one of the reasons all of them are. And once they're all in there, just about everything that happens will have something to do with an organization deciding to trade Edwin Jackson away.
Then there are the Rays. They're going bananas on the rest of the American League for the stretch run, and they're doing it with the help of Matt Joyce. After a slow summer, Joyce picked it up in August, and he's hitting .294/.500/.588 in September. He was acquired, of course, in a straight-up trade for Edwin Jackson. If the Rays make the playoffs, coming from a huge deficit against a powerful rival, Joyce will be a huge part of that. Which would mean that Jackson would indirectly be responsible for two-thirds of the teams in the playoffs without playing for any of those teams.
Three teams? Maybe that's a coincidence -- a three-team deal that happened to work out well for all three teams. Four teams? Edwin Jackson, Puppet Master. And don't forget that there was always the chance that Colby Rasmus would have hit three game-winning home runs against the Brewers if he had stayed with the Cardinals. Maybe. I mean, there was a chance.
But Edwin Jackson, Puppet Master could mean a few things. The Phillies and Rangers or Angels probably don't have a chance, as they clearly aren't one of the chosen teams for whatever reason. Well, that's unless Jackson is setting up the other teams to fall in the exact sequence required to get to a Phillies/Rangers World Series by placing one or two of his shadow agents with each of the other teams
It's all so confusing.
Alright, maybe there isn't a conspiracy. But just know that Edwin Jackson has packed an incredibly interesting trade history into the last three years, and that history is going to have serious ramifications for the 2011 playoffs. In fact, there have been only two trades that he's been involved in so far that haven't worked out for the teams that traded him away: the trade that sent him from the Dodgers for a couple of relievers, and the trade that sent him from the White Sox for a couple of relievers.
Maybe Jackson's grand plan is to put all of these other teams in the playoffs so that articles like this can be written, which makes you realize once and for all that Ned Colletti and Kenny Williams can make some weird-ass decisions.
Wait, you knew that already? Well, then maybe he's trying to tell us that trading decent starting pitchers for decent middle relievers isn't usually a good idea.
You knew that too? Dang. Well, it was worth pointing out again, I suppose. Until then, get ready to enjoy the 2011 Major League Baseball Playoffs, brought to you by Edwin Jackson. He's got his finger in a lot of pies, even though he's hundreds of miles from the bakery.