Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
Unless the Tigers have further trade plans in the works to move someone like Magglio Ordonez, this is ultimately a smart move for the organization. While Matt Joyce showed well in his debut season, he did so working largely in more of a platoon role, in which he mostly faced right-handers (he had just 22 at-bats against lefties in '08). So, while projecting Joyce's numbers out over a full season leads to 30 homers and 100 RBI, that's unlikely to happen as he faces a steady diet of left-handers as well. And with all of the starting spots in the Tigers' outfield already filled, and Brent Clevlen being out of options, there was a strong likelihood Joyce would be sent back to Toledo. That being said, there are still plenty of questions around Edwin Jackson, especially given his past control and command problems - even with his successful season, he still only struck out 108 while walking 77. Of course, Jackson still has a very high potential arm, and '08 could have been him turning the corner. Jackson's upside and effectiveness will still be determined, but given the Tigers financial constraints, and their surplus of young outfielders, the trade makes sense.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
Speaking truthfully, I'm pretty ambivalent to the deal. Despite wild claims by fans that Joyce was likely to play a significant role in Detroit this year, it was only going to happen if injuries occured. With Clevlen being out of options and the power Thames brings to the table, I just didn't see Joyce on the Opening Day roster. That said, the Tigers had a dire need for pitching, and Edwin Jackson was available. Jackson certainly shouldn't be considered a star, but there's potential there and he can likely give you some league average innings and eat some starts without completely falling on his face; something several other rotation options wouldn't be able to claim without laughing heartily. The one positive I see in this is that you're bringing a player with good raw stuff into a situation where he can work with a pitching coach -- Rick Knapp -- that has had success preaching and teaching control and command. If he can have any success with Jackson, we could see a step forward. This isn't a win-now move that was made by dealing away some young prospect; considering Jackson is only a year older than Joyce. It was a move made to fill a need while dealing from a position where the Tigers feel they have depth -- young outfielders -- with the likes of Brent Clevlen, Clete Thomas, Wilkin Ramirez, and Casper Wells. In the end, its a move that makes sense in terms of attempting to fill a significant hole on your roster without depleting another area significantly.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I'm not sure on where I stand on the Tigers' trade for Edwin Jackson. There is no questioning his stuff, but its never really translated over into consistent success in the big leagues. The thing that really sticks out for me are his peripheral numbers. For someone with as good an arsenal as he has, Jackson has allowed 394 hits in 344 1/3 innings while walking 165 batters and recording only 236 strikeouts, so it will be interesting to see if he can build on the success he had last year, and begin to fulfill the vast promise he showed as a premium prospect when he was with the Dodgers. Matt Joyce showed promise by hitting 12 homers last year, but with Carlos Guillen slated to be the starting left fielder and Marcus Thames (for the time being) coming back as a fourth outfielder, there wasn't room for Joyce on the 25-man roster, and he was likely looking at a trip to Toledo to start the season. He may wind up back in the minors anyway depending if Tampa Bay acquires a veteran outfielder, but he still has a solid left-handed bat. There are a lot of ifs that could make this trade good or bad on either side, and it will be intriguing to see how this plays out.
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