|Already 11 games out in the National League West, the Diamondbacks decided to shake up their lineup to help their bullpen, trading outfielder/first baseman Conor Jackson to the Athletics for minor league reliever Sam Demel, a righthander.
Arizona made a deal last month for Triple-A reliever Carlos Rosa, who promptly was promoted to Phoenix to improve a bullpen that ranked last in baseball with its seven-plus ERA. Now, Demel will lend a hand in trying rein in the Diamondbacks’ bullpen ERA, which still hovered at seven at the time of the trade.
As to Jackson, he controls the strike zone (career 209-to-229 walk-to-strikeout ratio) even during spells in which he’s not driving the ball. Unfortunately for the 2003 first-rounder, those times have been plentiful of late. Jackson missed much of the ’09 campaign with a severe bout of Valley Fever, which also occasioned the loss of 35 pounds, and his power stroke has not yet recovered. In 250 at-bats with the Diamondbacks in 2009-10, he batted just .216/.301/.300 with two home runs and 15 doubles.
Jackson has added defensive versatility in his career, shifting from third base as an amateur at California to left field of late. In his first seasons with Arizona, he served primarily as first baseman. Jackson’s best seasons came in 2006-07, when he posted .836 and .829 OPS numbers while slugging .453 and combining for 27 home runs—below-average power production in light of position and favorable home hitting conditions.
|Sam Demel, rhp
Born: Oct. 23, 1985 in Fort Worth.
Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 215. Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: Texas Christian
Career Transactions: Selected by Athletics in third round of 2007 draft; signed June 26, 2007.
Correspondent Casey Tefertiller just wrote his Athletics organization report on Demel, who has added a cut fastball to his repertoire. Demel just missed last year’s Top 30 Prospects but probably would have been in a midseason Top 10 for the A’s, if we did that kind of thing. Adding the cutter has allowed the reliever to work the glove-side of the plate, seeing as his low-90s sinker and changeup gave him weapons to his arm-side.
|Conor Jackson, lf/1b
Age: 28. Bats: R. Remaining Commitment: 1 arbitration year prior to free agency ($3.1 million in ’10; Diamondbacks to send $375,000 of remaining $1.88 million).
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.