The first question I had when I heard about the Cubs' trade of Brett Jackson to the Diamondbacks was: "What are Theo and Jed doing up making deals in the middle of the night?"
I mean, look at the time stamp on Carrie Muskat's article, linked above! Can't they make these trades when most people (writers included) aren't sleeping?
I'm kidding, of course. Here's the scoop on Blake Cooper, a righthanded pitcher acquired from Arizona in exchange for Jackson:
Cooper, 26, was 4-2 with a 3.57 ERA in 41 relief appearances combined for Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno this year. He was named to the 2014 Southern League All-Star team, posting a 1.85 ERA in 24 games with Mobile. However, Cooper had a 6.00 ERA in 17 games at Reno, giving up 16 earned runs on 25 hits and 17 walks over 24 innings. A 12th-round pick in 2010, Cooper is 16-15 with 16 saves and a 3.27 ERA in five Minor League seasons.
This is Cooper's fifth year in the D'backs organization, but 2014 is the first time he's pitched above Double-A, and not well, as noted above. He probably doesn't have much, if any, major-league future, but then again, neither did Jackson after yet another failed Triple-A season, where he hit .210/.298/.348 with five home runs in 224 at-bats. He also struck out 94 times. It was nearly identical to his 2013 season.
I'm really not sure what happened to Jackson. Despite striking out a lot, he had good years his first three seasons in the organization, hitting for power and drawing lots of walks. But his batting average and walk rate declined in 2012, even as the team gave him some big-league time at the end of the year. The result was the same: a fair number of walks, producing a .303 OBP even with a .175 BA, and four home runs in 120 at-bats, but with a K in almost half (59) of those AB. That is, so far, Jackson's only big-league experience.
Perhaps the change of scenery will do him good; it's still possible he could make it as a fourth or fifth outfielder for the Diamondbacks. It's a big fall, though, from being ranked in many preseason Top-100 prospect lists, as shown on his bb-ref minor-league page. I wish him well, and perhaps Blake Cooper will also benefit from being in a new organization and pitch in the big leagues for the Cubs at some point.
Finally, the trade now means that no Cubs No. 1 draft pick from 2002-2010 is still with the organization. None of the No. 1 Cubs picks from 2002-05 ever played in the major leagues, and Jackson was the last No. 1 pick from 2006-10 still in the organization. The Cubs do have Anthony Rizzo as a product of one of those picks, 2008 No. 1 choice Andrew Cashner. Here's a list of all No. 1 picks in Cubs history; it's not for the faint of heart.
We are, of course, hoping that the choices from 2011 (Javier Baez) and onward will be more productive.