Jackson deal close, but will he stay in Chicago?

Edwin Jackson could be joining a White Sox starting rotation with a 26-9 record, 2.73 ERA and 36 quality starts in its last 45 games. The question is: will he remain a permanent member or just be passing through Chicago?

The soon-to-be 27-year-old right-hander has become the South Siders’ target with a little more than 24 hours left before Saturday’s 3 p.m. CT non-waiver trade deadline. But Jackson also is coveted by the Washington Nationals, meaning the White Sox could turn around and ship him out as part of a deal for Adam Dunn, the left-handed hitting run producer who the White Sox have pursued.

Asking prices on Dunn have been too high to this point, with White Sox general manager Ken Williams not willing to part with either Gordon Beckham or Carlos Quentin. A deal for Jackson would cost the White Sox their top pitching prospect, Daniel Hudson, but if they were to pursue a Dunn deal, it might save them losing a second highly-touted young player such as Dayan Viciedo or Jordan Danks.

There’s a chance the White Sox could hang on to Jackson, choosing instead to fortify a starting rotation serving as the backbone for this team’s planned deep run in into the playoffs. Jackson carries a 6-10 record with a 5.21 ERA over 21 starts in the National League, including an eight-walk, 149-pitch no-hitter thrown against the Rays on June 25.

Jackson would be pitching for his fifth team overall and fourth team in his last three seasons. He has a career record of 44-49 with a 4.74 ERA but features a 33-30 record over the last three seasons.

A control issue would be the primary glaring problem spot in Jackson for a White Sox rotation priding itself on attacking the strike zone and letting the strong defense behind them do its work. Jackson walked at least 70 in each of his last three full seasons and has 60 walks in 134 1/3 innings during the 2010 campaign. But Gavin Floyd and All-Star Matt Thornton had previous control issues since corrected upon joining the White Sox.

If Hudson was moved today, with a start scheduled for Friday’s opener against the A’s in Chicago, the White Sox have a couple of one-day replacement options. Lucas Harrell pitched Sunday for Triple-A Charlotte and Jeff Marquez pitched Monday for the Knights, with the two pitchers currently on the White Sox 40-man roster. The White Sox also could turn to Tony Pena and work one game in a bullpen by committee.

When the White Sox traded Clayton Richard as part of the Jake Peavy deal on the day he was scheduled to start in 2009, long reliever D.J. Carrasco made the start.

Keeping Jackson, who would not be needed to be lights out as the team’s fifth starter, becomes a viable option thanks to a White Sox resurgence on offense. The White Sox are hitting .300 with 142 runs scored in their last 26 games overall and are hitting .314 with 40 home runs and 127 runs scored in their last 19 home games, of which they have won 18. They have knocked out 21 long balls in their last seven home games.

As part of the Tigers starting staff in 2009, Jackson found success against the AL with a 13-9 record. Jackson posted a 5-5 mark against the AL Central, with a 4-0 ledger coming against the Indians, and had a 5.07 ERA after the All-Star Break.

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