Tigers set to send talented outfielder to Tampa for guy who throws hard

by billfer on December 10, 2008 · 111 comments

in Trade Rumors

I‘m having a hard time even writing about the rumored deal that will send Matt Joyce to Tampa for Edwin Jackson. Joyce might flame out, but Jackson has yet to even burn.

Jackson has a fastball that averages in excess of 93 MPH. That’s fast, but he doesn’t seem to fool a lot of people with a K rate last year that was lower than Nate Robertson’s. At least he made up for it by walking 77 hitters in 183 innings. Marcel projects him to have a FIP ERA of 4.64 which is a considerable improvement over the 4.89 he’s posted over the last 2 years. Jackson is also a flyball pitcher meaning he won’t benefit from the new left side infield defense. Jackson will only be 25, but he is out of options.

In exchange the Tigers surrender a their most promising left handed hitting prospect. A solid defender who posted an .831 OPS as a 23 year old making his big league debut. He’s blocked, sort of, this year but has 2 options left. And his being blocked is contingent on the health of Carlos Guillen and Gary Sheffield. In essence he was only going to be blocked in 2009 and even then it’s questionable.

I don’t know how Jackson fits in, whether he will be a starter or reliever. Oh yeah, and he’s eligible for arbitration. Good luck Rick Knapp. I don’t get this one at all.

DRays Bay loves this deal, as they should.

UPDATE: This is official as Friedman and Dombrowski have met with the media. Joe Hamrahi of Baseball Digest Daily was in there and posted these notes in his twitter feed.

So his role as starter or reliever is undetermined.

 
 

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Steve in Kzoo December 10, 2008 at 10:46 pm

I get this one Bilfer. I think the whole situation was that they needed to do something. And they did. They got their hard thrower but still has many control issues. An that’s where the main reason comes in Rick Knapp is a control specialist so they hope that he can do something for Jackson. At least that’s what I’m reading into. Either that or they are going to flip him for a closer deal. Dunno.

The Thing I’m confused by is where to put him. If hes a starter that measn we have 7 starters and 2 will be the odd men out. Either thrown into the bullpen or sent down.

I dunno. Either way I like it though, Joyce was a great LH Power hitter, but was blocked and with up and coming Ramirez, Joyce was destined to be the 4th outfielder til Maggs left.

Eric Jackson December 10, 2008 at 10:49 pm

I like this one.

Also, his control has been improving. Less walks, more K’s. A starter for a mid-level prospect, I’ll take it.

billfer December 10, 2008 at 10:49 pm

He was blocked for 1 season and had an option and was one of the few left handed bats they had. Why trade something of value for a project, a project that is just about to get expensive when Joyce won’t cost anything for at least 2 more years? And now they have 7 potential starters, but 4 of those are back of the rotation starters. It’s ugly. Why not wait until Friday and see if Jackson is even tendered a contract.

Eric Jackson December 10, 2008 at 10:58 pm

I don’t think they’ll get much more for Joyce, he’s not a top prospect. A big league ready starter isn’t a bad deal here.

I know they have 7 potential starters but it’s pretty ugly, One downside, only 2 of them are lefties, so adding another righty isn’t the greatest. I wonder if this would also mean their out on John Smoltz?

Steve in Kzoo December 10, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Blocked for 1 season but also blocked when Ramirez, who by all reports looks to be very good defensively and offensively and on the base path, will be up mid season or in ’10 season. Joyce isn’t over rated but was blocked by Guillen this year and Ramirez and Maggs next season, plus ’11 as well. Although, Bilfer, I do agree that we should have waited to see if he was tendered a contract, DD I think felt the pressure of Detroit fans wanting something done. Putz was being taken away from him so DD did the next best thing(maybe) and got a starter. I don’t think hes as much of a project as you might think. He projects to be our #3 starter over Galarraga because he is to regress this year. Jackson is still cheap probably no more then $2.5-3 million in arbitration.

IT was a win win i think for both sides, just wondering where do we put him is the hardest thing to decided. He like Nate was awful out of the pen, so hes gotta be a starter. Or do we flip him for a closer, the only other one out there that’s a predominate closer is Houston Street. I dunno but was a solid steal for both teams.

EDIT: Eric, the Smoltz thing is still up in the air, although I would love it if he came here. I’d only want him if he came out of the pen as the closer, but he has said he wants to start. So probably we are out.

billfer December 10, 2008 at 11:07 pm

Joyce is a lefty, Ramirez is a righty. Joyce has had success at both AAA and the big leagues. Ramirez had one solid season at AA. Joyce is far superior in the field to Ramirez. Joyce has demonstrated better on base skills. Joyce can play both corners and Ramirez is exclusively a left fielder. Ramirez has the edge in speed, and perhaps power (and that’s up for debate). Joyce is better right now, and likely better in 09.

With Jackson, look past the ERA. Look at the weak strike out rate and the high walk rate and the pedestrian home run rate. And then there’s the salary. I pray that DD didn’t make a trade because he felt pressure from fans. If he did, there’s more pressure now because this trade is bad.

thefume December 10, 2008 at 11:10 pm

Jackson could be good for a long time. I think he has just as good of a chance of panning out as Joyce does. And when you consider Joyce is under control for 6 years but Jackson is a SP, it looks like an even trade to me. When you look at the Tigers minor league OF depth and the Rays major league starting pitcher depth, it makes sense for both teams. And these are my 2 favorite teams. And Joyce was one of my favorite players.

Steve in Kzoo December 10, 2008 at 11:11 pm

I beg to differ there Bilfer but we will both find out this season who is right. However I do wonder why (according to MLBTR) why the tigers went ahead with a Joyce trade to TB when they had a three team deal for Putz with the Ms and Rays and would NOT put in Joyce for the trade to be triggered. That is a puzzle and I must wonder why DD did this trade, but did not pull the trade for what we REALLY need and that’s bullpen/closer help.

BTW, Bilfer nice discussion you have me thinking that its a so so trade but I still think it was okay. Thanks for the debate! :)

tiff December 10, 2008 at 11:13 pm

but who will save the KITTENS????

amason3 December 10, 2008 at 11:15 pm

Long time reader, first time commentor. I agree with Bilfer. Unless, they somehow know that at least Jackson WILL be a good reliver if he fails as a starter then you don’t trade a left-handed bat who put up good numbers at 23. I dunno Jackson is interesting but the out of options thing , his marcel projections for ’09 and the whole Dontrelle experince leaves me straching my head unless, as I said, he is more or less a lock to be a good releiver. I mean is Guillen really going to stay heathly? This was a mess to begin with considering the contracts of Inge and Guillen and although Carlos is one of my sentimental favs I ain’t looking foward not only to him in left but his fastly declining offensive numbers. ( not to mention Marcels project him and Joyce with basically the same offensive output. Man could have friggin used Guillen at DH and Joyce in LF when Sheff’s arm rips out of his socket when he swings too hard as he sits on 499 Hr’s for two months). Whatever, but the previous deals they made were so sensible and I was hoping they’d stay that course and hope guys bounced back.

Kathy December 10, 2008 at 11:18 pm

Billfer’s mad and no one is going to change his mind on this one. This deal was kinda out of LF. And, yea, who’s gonna save us?

hawk84 December 10, 2008 at 11:25 pm

This is a terrible trade! I was not even in favor of moving Joyce to get Putz. This kid is the real deal! Blocked or not, he was going to get plenty of playing time. Larish or Thames in this deal – - sure thing, but not Joyce. Bad, bad, bad move. I agree Steve, Smoltz if he closes. Seems like that would be best thing for him, health-wise!

Steve in Kzoo December 10, 2008 at 11:25 pm

Yea im still wondering that myself Kathy. With Putz now a Met.(WTH do they need TWO closers for grrrr……..) the only option is to spend money for Fuentes, or go after and get somehow, Houston Street. OR go with the age option of Trevor Hoffman which has gotten no offers since he became a free agent in Nov.

Eric Cioe December 10, 2008 at 11:28 pm

I don’t think this is a bad deal at all. Sort of like a lesser version of the Delmon Young for Matt Garza swap, sort of. I think Joyce is going to be a fine outfielder. I also think they needed a starter. Jackson’s a project, but even in rough shape this year he threw a good number of quality innings. Rick Knapp is going to need some luck, but I think this is a fine trade.

Anson December 10, 2008 at 11:32 pm

First of all booooo.

So we needed a closer or at least a reliever but instead of including joyce in a deal for putz we trade him straight up for a suspect starter. How does this solve any of the Tigers problems? Well except answering the question of who gets part of the 10 million we had to spend on RELIEVERS!

Kathy December 10, 2008 at 11:33 pm

Wonder what their gonna do with Freddy Garcia if he’s healthy.

Steve in Kzoo December 10, 2008 at 11:35 pm

Thanks for the comment on smoltz hawk. But I think its a fair trade both sides. We got Jackson and as Eric said, this is why we got Knapp for to help on control issues for pitchers. We will have a great rotation if it pans out in a couple of years. Verlander, Porcello, Bondo, Jackson and Galarraga. Hopefully things pan out for us as i know they will for the Rays this year. We may not see it right away, but we will see it in a couple of years if our coach is as good as he says he is.

billfer December 10, 2008 at 11:39 pm

@Kathy – Garcia is a free agent.

For those that like the trade, what makes you think he’s anything more than a #4-5 pitcher? I’m being argumentative by asking, I’m genuinely curious because I don’t see it.

Eddie December 10, 2008 at 11:43 pm

He was a top prospect in 2003! That’s why I like it!

Oh, what’s that? It’s almost 2009?

Awful trade.

Anson December 10, 2008 at 11:44 pm

Billfer, I dislike the trade but I’m going to go with Tampa Bay is bound to have some bad luck. And why not have it benefit us? I mean we sure could use it after all our crushed hopes from last season.

JAYRC December 10, 2008 at 11:45 pm

I feel what many of you are saying in regards to our outfield depth. Even before this terible trade I wondered who would be leaving. With Ramirez and Wells on the rise and Thames and Raburn already on the 25 man roster (Clevlen with no MILB option) I was unsure of who would be the oddman out. I just assumed they traded Marcus “I can’t field” Thames instead.
Didn’t love Joyce watch him down here in ABall though and while he isn’t a top prospect he’s better than Jackson. Doesn’t anyone remember how bad Jackson was in 2007?!?
No Putz, No Wood, No Fuentes (Rumored to be StL bound)
We may be phucked and stuck with Rodney

Steve in Kzoo December 10, 2008 at 11:47 pm

Well Bilfer,
The main reason I think DD did it is because hes always liked POWER pitchers. Weather they are high ceiling or not he likes power pitcher and it shows, Zumaya, Verlander, Bonderman, Rondney, Jackson. And with Knapp Jackson and the others control problems should be ok. However, Joyce was a trade piece because of our surplus of young cheap outfielders. And they wanted one that had some upside to him, that and he was being blocked. And no matter how YOU see it DD thought he was expendable to having a power armed rotation in a couple of years. So even though it looks like they got the upper end right now, I think in 2010 our whole rotation will be power arms except for Galarraga even though he too can throw hard.

At least that’s how I see it. I just question why he included Joyce for Jackson and not Joyce in a three team deal for Putz that’s the big question from me.

Eric Cioe December 10, 2008 at 11:50 pm

I think it’s more important for the Tigers to have a #4-5 starter than a Joyce right now. I’m sure Guillen and Sheffield are both going to have health issues. But I think they can fill that spot when the time comes more easily than they can by counting on two of Robertson, Willis, and Miner to cover the back end of the rotation. Jackson adds some modicum of stability to the back end of the rotation.

billfer December 10, 2008 at 11:57 pm

I get Eric’s point, but for those that think Jackson is decent or even average, why do you think that?

thefume December 11, 2008 at 12:04 am

I believe Jackson has the arm and enough off speed stuff to be a 2/3 if he gets his control down. He’s been dominant against good teams some nights and awful others, which makes me believe the scouting reports on his stuff. I believe that even if he doesn’t significantly improve his control, he’s still good for a mid 4 ERA, assuming he gets a reasonable BABIP.

We’re rehashing age-old questions in baseball here: can Joyce hit the breaking ball? Can Jackson control his pitches? Nobody really knows, but all things being equal, go with the starting pitcher. Joyce was more of a sure thing, but Jackson has the upside.

Vince in MN December 11, 2008 at 12:06 am

I’m disappointed. I was expecting Joyce to take over in RF for Maggs when he gets dealt at the trading deadline. Oh well, turn it over to Brent Clevlen I guess.
While we are cleaning house of LH bats, maybe they can get a couple of below average RH relief pitchers for Larrish. That would leave Granderson – hmmmm, what to do.

Anson December 11, 2008 at 12:06 am

So what exactly is our rotation now? I mean obviously its Verlander, Bondo, Battlestar Galarraga. But who from the pu-pu platter of pitchers takes the last two spots? Willis, Robertson, Jackson, Miner? Is it possible to combine them in some way? Because I honestly don’t think they will be able to last very long individually?

This trade solves nothing!

Chris in Dallas December 11, 2008 at 12:09 am

Oy vey. This is a pretty dumb one in my opinion. I guess you can never have too much pitching, but I’ve not been an EJax fan. Although that one game he threw against the Tigs in ’07 was impressive (the one where he got hit in the face by a throw from the outfield and suddenly became unhittable). I don’t get why Joyce was deemed expendable. It’s not like this is the first deal he’s been rumored to be involved in.

Anson December 11, 2008 at 12:12 am

Yeah I was at that game Chris, I think it was 80′s night or something but at least Jackson can never do that to the Tigers again.

Kathy December 11, 2008 at 12:13 am

Oh, ye, of little faith.

Walewander December 11, 2008 at 12:19 am

Billfer -
I see your points, but I think you are being overly harsh, so I’ll take a shot. Jackson put up a 104 ERA+ in the toughest division in baseball as a 24 year old. He has good stuff. Right now, those are number 3 starter numbers on a lot of teams.

It’s still reasonable to assume that he gets better. He’s already come from possible flameout to contributor on a pennant winner. He could certainly put up a couple years in the 115-120 range, and that is extremely valuable. And as a flyball pitcher he may not be helped by the infield D as much (though he still will be helped) but the larger outfield and an elite defensive CF sure will be better than the Trop for him.

So yeah, it;s a gamble. I loved Matt the Cat too. But I think it’s a reasonable one.

billfer December 11, 2008 at 12:26 am

Walewander – Thanks for taking a stab and I hear you. And yes he posted a nice ERA last year. But here’s where my rebuttal. I think the ERA is suspect due to the 5.30 K/9 which is way too low for a guy with a mid 90′s fastball.

At least he has stuff and is young which is encouraging. But the peripherals scream big freakin’ fluke to me.

With all the bashing of the trade I’ve done, I’d love if all of you came back this summer and pulled up this post and showed me how wrong I am. I hope I’m wrong, but it’s been awhile since DD made a trade that I disliked this much. Rent/Jurrjjens I understood, same with Jones/Infante. I can’t frame this one as a positive.

amason3 December 11, 2008 at 12:31 am

Actually I can see something to this as Bill James and Marcels project Jackson to see an improved K rate but more or less the same walks/whip/era and he had in 08 and he had the same 4.88 FIp as Gallaraga (whether that is good news for Jackson or bad for Gallaraga) in ’08. Also, Robertson is better than I see most giving him credit for as he had a FIP of 4.99 last season while Bill James has him projected to have a 4.77 era and Marcels a little over 5 for ’09. Putting him on the fringe and not as already in the rotation is perhaps a mistake. For better or worse I see a rotation of Verlander, Bonderman, Gallaraga, Robertson and Jackson.

jud December 11, 2008 at 12:42 am

people you have to GIVE someone to GET someone……oh I know lets send Scheff-Robertson-Zumaya-Willis- Inge’s bat and 6 packs of gum and 6 ham sandwiches to the Twinkies and all we want is Nathan…

in order to get someone you have to give someone that is why JJ-Larish-Joyce- are dangled out there…….no one wants the Tigers DEAD WOOD mentioned above

David December 11, 2008 at 12:47 am

Billfer – Jackson was essentially average last year ERA+ 101 (and he is turning 25)

Walewander – toughest division? huh?

Hes got a decent fastball

I think this trade shows a few things
1) Win now
2) Get a has-been highly touted pitcher with a decent year who is right about to enter his prime and hope it works
3) Huge excess of OF depth in Majors and Minors, so DEAL from DEPTH
4) No place for Joyce this year (assuming Guillen/Granderson/Maggs/Thames/Sheffield/Raburn who were all ahead of him on the depth chart stay healthy)

Still I agree with you Billfer, it seems like a bad deal especially now

Who knows though? he is about the same age as Verlander and Bonderman and Willis and all four were/ if not are highly touted at some point… plus all four are about to enter their “prime”

Still it would have been nice to see them get Putz and nice to see if Joyce develops

It tells you the DRays are not going to be a doormat any longer and have some smart cookies over there – they draft well and have traded well (and picked up our Pena)

To be honest

If we get Smoltz, after we got Laird and Everett, I would think something STRANGE is going on, since I have championed for all three quite a bit here…

And I would love it!

He would SOOOO help out this club (if healthy), plus he wants to start

Nicholus December 11, 2008 at 12:50 am

I’m with ya’, billfer. I don’t see any reason to think Jackson is going to be any good, and we already knew Matt Joyce was going to be good. Honestly, I don’t think we’re too far away from the day when Matt Joyce, overall, is more valuable than Magglio Ordonez. Ordonez is starting to lose range and power, and he’s not getting any younger.

I know that everybody’s concerned about the pitching, and I’m concerned, too, but that doesn’t mean you make hasty moves for a bottom end starter whose prospects for getting better are questionable at best. Look past the wins and the radar; Jackson has not had a good season. Not with the Rays, not with the Dodgers. At his peak, he was average. Is that really something to get excited about? Is that a piece you really want to get in return for a defensively sound, power-hitting lefty that we need? I think not, but I guess time will tell.

Andre in Chicago December 11, 2008 at 1:09 am

Steve,

on the bright side, we can stop arguing the merits of Joyce for Putz…

Chris in Nashville December 11, 2008 at 1:12 am

This is a head scratcher for sure. On one hand, he did win 14 games last year in the AL East which isn’t something to scoff at. His K/9, BB/9 and H/9 are all questionable on the other hand. In my opinion, Joyce is a better prospect than Larrish but Joyce’s swing is pretty long and I personally don’t think we are losing a future All-Star here.

Would I say the Tigers won this trade? Probably not, but in DD I trust. Am I starting to question my belief in DD? Starting to. You can never have enough starters and Joyce is promising but not irreplaceable. So I’m giving DD the benefit of the doubt on this one.

RudeMood19 December 11, 2008 at 1:14 am

I agree with Billfer on this one. I think this is a terrible trade.

I REALLLLLLY hope I’m wrong, but I have the same feeling that I had last year when we traded for Renteria (honestly) and I suspect this trade will bring forth bad results too

stephen December 11, 2008 at 1:24 am

Boy, I had to go look up Joyce’s stats, because for a second I thought we were trading a young Al Kaline for Walt Terrell. Not quite!
http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/J/matt-joyce.shtml

I know he’s got good OPS, but the guy can’t steal a base, hasn’t hit above .270 since A ball and I don’t remember the guy covering himself with defensive glory. If Jackson can give you 200 innings, quite possible, I think it’s worth the gamble to give up Joyce who has exactly 33 career MLB rbi’s. Joyce is, in a perfect world, a 400 ab 4th outfielder/dh type, and they’re lot easier to find than an innings eater.

Mike R December 11, 2008 at 1:45 am

Yo, I’m ready to say it: Front Office must be changed. Time to part ways.

Mike R December 11, 2008 at 1:48 am

Stephen, no, Joyce isn’t Al Kaline. But Edwin Jackson is even more replaceable than Joyce’s talents are. There are a ton of Edwin Jackson’s walking around. Below-average strikeouts and walks. No thanks. I’ll pass.

Steve in Kzoo December 11, 2008 at 1:56 am

Agreed Andre lol. However I’m still going to stay with my initial assessment that this trade was a fair one. We have depth in the OF with Clete and Raburn. Joyce was better then them but fetched a better bounty then either of them could. Joyce could be a 20HR type but was starting to feel like a Adam Dunn type of player only with fewer HR and same amount of Ks and bad baserunning and no steals. Other backups and Ramirez look to be must faster. Jackson is not an ace by any stretch but I think that with Rick Knapp’s help, Jackson can be stability in the end of the rotation. Like I said above in my other posts, ’10 rotation could look mean if Jackson gets his control issues worked out, with: Verlander, Porcello, Bondo, Jackson and Galarraga. All hard throwers with Galarraga being the only exception. Jackson with 150K+ and 60BB would be looking great if we can get that control issue under control. He’s a flame thrower and young, and so can only get better. It may not seem immediate but with a season or two the trade will either be even or in our favor.

I still have a scratching question. Why did DD included Joyce for Jackson and not Joyce in a three team deal for Putz that’s the big question from me?

Also the last closers we got are Smoltz(drools at him being closer), Street, Fuentes. And then new closers but good relief, Lyon and Cruz. Interesting stuff we have left. who will we sign/trade for?

Smoking Loon December 11, 2008 at 2:12 am

I don’t get this trade. Maybe after I’m done reading these 43 posts I will. The jury’s out for me.

Mike R December 11, 2008 at 2:17 am

Joyce is exactly like Adam Dunn except with no where near the power or patience.

Neal December 11, 2008 at 2:17 am

My 2 Cents:
I’m with Billfer here.
Look, Marcel and James both have Guillen projected as about a .360 wOPA for 2009, with Joyce at about .355 wOPA for 2009. Now, Guillen has a track record, Joyce doesn’t, so his projection is just basically thinking that he repeats 2008.
The difference over the course of a full year is less than 3 runs. Joyce was pegged as +7.5 LF fielder, while Guillen played all of 2 games there, and I can’t see him being a +4.5 LF fielder. I think the front office has gone off the rocker, and it really comes down to Miggy not being able to play 3rd Base. If he could, no way there is even a thought of Inge coming back to play there, and no reason to move Guillen to LF. Dumbrowski has to believe that Joyce is going to collapse and that there are holes that haven’t been exploited is his swing yet.
The problem is that Jackson hasn’t shown anything in several years in MLB play. As Billfer noted, we already have a bunch of #4-5 starters, having 5 of them doesn’t make us any better. I hope another deal is on the way.
The downside is that that deal is probably getting rid of Robertson, who will most likely have one his regular seasons again in 2009, or getting rid of Willis for nothing. Both of those guys have more upside potential than does Jackson right now.

Joel in Seattle December 11, 2008 at 2:22 am

I’m down with this deal if – and only if – it means Robertson is gone.

Oh, there should also be a ham sandwich.

Neal December 11, 2008 at 2:24 am

Essentially: Joyce is a risk. He was a gift for 2008, like Battlestar, and everyone was waiting for the drop off. Now maybe the expectation is that they will both fall to Earth in 2009, so we need another pitcher, and no loss in giving up someone who will disappoint in 2009. That must be the thinking out there. Not mine.

Tim D December 11, 2008 at 2:28 am

1. Joyce is 11 months younger than Jackson.
2. Joyce’s vaunted .831 OPS is so-so for a corner OF.
3. Joyce’s career minor league OPS is .804. He reasonably projects to .775 or so.
4. He’s never hit lefties.
5. Jackson is about the same age as Verlander and Bonderman.
6. Jackson’s K/W wasn’t great this year but his results were astronomically better. He is a young guy with great stuff who took a major step forward. Look at Verlander’s K totals for 2006.
7. Jackson won 14 games, more than anybody in Detroit (on a team that scored fewer runs).
8. With all the angst over the pen, they needed a starter, too. Badly. They got one for a 4th OF.
9. Larish is as good a hitter as Joyce. Thomas is just as useful and will be back in 2010.
10. DD doesn’t react to pressure from media/fans. He would never have traded Pudge if he did.
11. Knapp probably told them to “get this guy.”

Good trade.

Smoking Loon December 11, 2008 at 2:38 am

OK, that didn’t help (reading). I don’t like losing Joyce, but… Jackson might really surprise the naysayers in 2009. It happens. Young pitchers struggle and flounder – then blossom all of a sudden. Not everyone comes charging out of the gate like Verlander.

Possible solutions to the mystery:

1. Rick Knapp signed off on this. He wants Jackson.
2. The Tigers are about to trade or otherwise unload 1 or 2 of the current starters.
3. They Tigers know something about Joyce we don’t. They’re right and we’re wrong.
4. The Tigers actually intend to turn around and deal Jackson for a bigger prize.

Again, I wanted to keep Joyce, saw a future sooner than later. But man am I glad that the Tigers are MOVING and not sitting still.

2009 holds what for the Tigers? A winning season, no doubt. Good, good vibe.

Mike R December 11, 2008 at 2:42 am

I wouldn’t have ever thought I’d see so much defending of a guy who had a worse season than Nate Robertson’s terrible 2008.

Moving doesn’t mean that they moved in the right direction. For me, this team is now worse today then it was yesterday. Bottom line, in my mind.

Smoking Loon December 11, 2008 at 2:45 am

More intriguing still is whether they see a hidden bullpen messiah in Jackson. A couple people have already pointed out elsewhere how star closers often begin as failed or struggling starters.

Tim D December 11, 2008 at 2:51 am

Rotation= Verlander, Galarraga, Bonderman, Jackson and either Willis, Robertson or Miner.

Galarraga still has hurdles to get over.
Bonderman is a question mark.
Willis can be counted on for nothing at this point.
Robertson was worse, far worse, than Jackson was in his 5-15 2007. He may be done.
Miner is still up and down with 5th starter stuff and upside.
I don’t see any surplus here. They needed a starter.

Steve in Kzoo December 11, 2008 at 2:54 am

Mike you just told everyone here that You agree with me that Joyce was a Dunn. And an Adam Dunn(MAtt joyce) with far less homeruns. And if you don’t like Jackson then the trade shouldn’t matter to you. Both your point and your feelings negate each other and the trade has neither up nor a downside.

Listen I’ve posted more about this trade, then everyone here so I’m not going to try and change your mind or Bilfer’s, but It was a solid move for a guy(Jackson) that looks to be starting to get his act together. And I’m very sure by now that Rick Knapp wanted Jackson because he sees what I think a lot of our naysayers don’t see, a pitcher that can be a solid #3 or #4 pitcher given that he get help and gets his control problems set. (Knapp’s specialty in MINN.)

I also agree that this trade will look even better in the future say next season, but also it’ll look much better if we do unload or trade off Nate, Willis or Miner. We now are the Rays and have a surplus. We need to figure out what we can and get rid of baggage dead weight on our rotation. I don’t know what we can get but we better do something cause we don’t need a 6th an 7th starter being used as long men in relief we tried that last year and it failed.

Smoking Loon December 11, 2008 at 3:07 am

“For me, this team is now worse today then it was yesterday. Bottom line, in my mind.’

(The following assumes Jackson is really here to stay)

Mike, I think you and billfer might be overreacting just a bit. The Tigers traded youth for youth, drawbacks for drawbacks, hitting for pitching, bench for front line, surplus for need. and – presumably – guy Leyland don’t want for guy Knapp do want. That’s a move in the right direction, to me. If Joyce can get better, make adjustments, improve his swing… how is it impossible that young Edwin Jackson, too, can improve, learn to pitch and not just throw, fix that K/BB under Knapp’s famous tutelage?

Fair trade, though a gamble like all trades. It’s a gamble for the Rays, too.

Mike R December 11, 2008 at 3:09 am

Sorry, Steve. I was being sarcastic. Matt Joyce is nothing like Adam Dunn, offensively. Dunn is a far superior offensive player than Joyce can dram of being.

Steve, how in the world is Jackson ‘getting his act together’ when his strikeouts are decreasing and his walks are remaining the same? He’s not even Daniel Cabrera for the O’s. Sorry. I’m just not buying it and I won’t ever like this deal until Edwin Jackson’s results even hint at an improvement. The “he’s got great stuff” argument is great for a guy just breaking in — not for someone with Jackson’s service time already.

It’s not even the fact that Jackson’s control is an issue — and by ‘issue,’ I mean ‘bigger problem than Edgar Renteria’s defense ever was last year … times 2′ — it’s also that he doesn’t even strike anyone out. Which, given his lauded ‘stuff,’ is unacceptable. There’s probably 15 guys in the Rule 5 draft that can put up the same terrible K:BB numbers relative to the league average as Jackson will/can.

Main difference between our surplus and the Rays’ surplus: The Rays had good pitching depth. We have a No. 2 in Justin Verlander, No. 3 in Bonderman, and then umpteen No. 5 starters (or worse).

Short of Jackson paying the Tigers to play baseball, there’s little-to-no argument I have ever seen in Jackson’s favor over the last couple of years that will ever change my mind. Just agree to disagree, I suppose.

Mike R December 11, 2008 at 3:15 am

Loon: Jackson can make improvements. However, things are working against him. Like the fact that he’s regressed in his tenure in the big’s.

What does Joyce do badly? Not hit left handers? Here’s what sums that up perfectly from the link to the DRays Bay piece on the trade:

The one problem with Joyce is his tendency to not hit left-handed pitching. That’s not uncommon, and he still managed an OPS over .700 against them over his minor league career. Jeremy Hermida is similar in that regard, are as a number of other left-handed hitters, in fact left-handed hitters as a whole had a .699 OPS against left-handed pitching last season — if this weren’t typical, there wouldn’t be LOOGYs.

And since when has guys that Jim Leyland has wanted been a good thing?

Wanted Andrew Miller before he was ready. Bad.
Neifi Perez. Bad.
Edgar Renteria (I don’t hold the hatred that most ’round here do). Most say that’s bad, I say it was a few ticks worse than I expected.
Gary Sheffield. Bad.

It’s late and I cannot think of others off the top of my head, but the fact that Dombrowski (and Leyland) have swung and missed more and more lately does not instill any amount of confidence within me about their decision making. Just because they got a guy that they like doesn’t automatically make it a good move.

I don’t see anything to like about this deal at all.

jud December 11, 2008 at 3:16 am

1. without Jackson you are looking at Robertson–Willis–Miner—filling two starting spots……ain’t gonna happen
2. The Tiger farm system has plenty of OF
3. Were you absolutely SURE Joyce can hit the curveball
4. You sure Joyce would end up better than Clete Thomas(2010)–Rayburn- Guzman-or Cleven
5. Without throwing a pitch Jackson is better than Robertson-Willis and a good chance he is better than Miner.
6. Jackson won more games than any Tiger starter in a tough division
7. there is even the possibility that he ends up a closer
8. good trade…might work might not ..still a good trade

jud December 11, 2008 at 3:26 am

Mike you listed 4 bads

how about the trades that worked
Pudge—good
Mags- good
Guillen- good
Palonco— good
T Jones( say what you want he did the job)–good
Miggy— good
Battlestar—good
Thames—ok
Bonderman—good
Seay—-ok
now that is an awful lot of good with a few bad…….he ain’t god his is just a general manager….

Steve in Kzoo December 11, 2008 at 3:29 am

Well to close the night, I’ll say this. I’ve said it was a SOLID deal not a GRAND or GREAT or SUPERB deal just a SOLID deal. like Loon said 4th outfielder blocked for a year or more, for a blocked pitcher that’s starting to get his act together. Now I think we have different opinions on what starting means. He doesn’t have it together, hes starting to. Sure his Ks and BB are a great ratio but his velocity is up and his ERA is down by all accounts. His ERA was way better then 07 and so was his K:BB ratio. He will be a great hard throwing kid, and young too, you cannot complain about that part of the trade (youth for youth).

The thing is we are going to miss a good kid that was brought up from our system and hit good, well we all need to get over it, Joyce will never be worth a Kazmir or a Shields. We got what we got good. If it was Joyce and another prospect for Jackson I would have bulked at that as harshly as you guys are. But it was straight up and very even. Clete, Ramirez and Raburn are just as good or will be better then Joyce. I happen to really like Ramirez solid AA play last year and great spring til he messed up his shoulder.

Anyhow we have depth and that’s how the trade (baseball) is done, you do business by your depth and we have plenty of OFs. Jackson will I hope be that solid starter we have this year like Galarraga. (And i hope you don’t think Galarraga is a No. 5 starter that’s in your worse column, he was great this year and will regress but will have another solid year for us). Hopefully if all healthy, Rotation #1-4 should be solid especially if Knapp takes good care of Jackson and gets his control problems set. That is why i think this is a SOLID trade, not a great one but a solid move to cement the Tigers for a good run in ’10. And ’09 we will not be as good as we will be in 2010 but solid none the less.

As for Dunn/Joyce Comparison you are right he is no dunn, but in several words Joyce would have been at best unless he can solve his Lefty issue a platoon player with many Ks much like Dunn. And I guess we will agree to disagree.

STILL LOOKING FOR A CLOSER DD!!!!!
(Countdown: 5 reliable closers left)
(1 Fuentes, 2 Smoltz, 3 Lyon, 4 Cruz, 5 Street)

Chris Y. December 11, 2008 at 6:53 am

Man, I’m glad I got off-line early last night. I wouldn’t have been able to sleep otherwise.

It is official. Call in the elementary school brass band. Grab the key to the village:

DD is an idiot.

billfer December 11, 2008 at 7:32 am

Dunn is better offensively, clearly, but Joyce has him in the field so the overall gap isn’t huge.

As far as being better than Thomas, Raburn, and Clevlen. Well, no one can be sure but I put Joyce far ahead of all of them.

As for giving up something to get something, I understand that. But what if the something you get in return is something you don’t want or need?

I don’t see Jackson being an upgrade. I see him competing for the 4-5 spots in the rotation with 3 other guys.

As for labeling Joyce as a 4th outfielder, that is inaccurate as well. As a 23 year old yes he’s a 4th outfielder. His ceiling is above average starter.

MCM December 11, 2008 at 7:37 am

Bottom line is we need pitching and more pitching. That’s the big question mark and the Tiger’s major problem last year, starting and bullpen. How many times ya gonna rotate Clevlen, Joyce and Larrish – nice move, now let’s bring in a solid closer!

Chris Y. December 11, 2008 at 8:31 am

OK, I’ve had my coffee and I still don’t like it.

Any thoughts on Jackson as a closer? Seems like the best option to me, unless the 4-5 situation turns out as bad as it could. I do seem to recall him looking pretty good pitching the back end of an (out-of-hand) ALCS game.

jason December 11, 2008 at 8:49 am

Chris Y.: As I was reading this, thats what came to my mind. Maybe DD/Leyland have some plan to convert one of our “starters” into a closer. I mean, even today, where the 3-day rest is taboo, a 7 starter rotation isn’t going to happen.

Andre in Chicago December 11, 2008 at 8:52 am

maybe somebody else brought this up, i gotta catch up on all these posts…but it seems to me that we might as well have traded Joyce for Robertson. maybe you can’t have too much starting pitching, but pitching of this caliber seems fairly easy/cheap to come by.

i keep hearing that Jackson is a “project”, as in that’s a positive. really? you don’t think Knapp already has a few of those going into this season? at this rate its looking like they should have retained Hernandez and assigned him standard pitching coach duties and still signed Knapp for all the projects.

the season may prove me wrong, but i think somebody needs to try and ‘splain things to the fans.

stephen December 11, 2008 at 10:06 am

Billfer, did you just say the talent gap between Dunn, guy with five 40 hr seasons, and Joyce, who has 33 rbi’s in his career, isn’t that great? Man, unless Joyce is Paul Blair in disguise and I just never noticed, this seems a little hyperbolic.

Jim December 11, 2008 at 10:07 am

Me thinks we may have gotten a new closer candidate. Failed starter to successful reliever isn’t is possible.

I liked Joyce, but I bet he tops out at 4th OF.

Honestly, I think more than likely this deal ends up being a wash for both sides, neither player amounting to much.

thefume December 11, 2008 at 10:18 am

Jackson is a project/prospect, in the same sense that Joyce is. If you expect Jackson to repeat his ’08 season, this is a bad trade. If you expect Jackson to improve from ’08 to ’09 like he did from ’07 to ’08, this is a good trade.

A decent comparison of where Jackson is right now might be Bonderman ~2004/5. Both guys were rushed to the bigs (Bonderman more so) and in 2005 Bonderman had about the same number of innings as Jackson does now. And back then, Bonderman was viewed by me at least as a guy who was still improving, still hadn’t reached his potential. Not saying Jackson in ’08 was as good as Bonderman in ’04 or ’05, but I think we could still see similar improvements moving forward.

Jackson would be my #2 prospect behind Porcello if he were eligible, and Joyce would have been too. So I think it’s a fair trade.

Chris Y. December 11, 2008 at 10:18 am

Stephen

In defense of billfer, the overall contribution of a player to the team includes defense. And most people undervalue defense, esp. in the off-season. Right now, Joyce is an above-average corner outfielder (will never be a Blair, but more than decent), while Dunn should be DHing somewhere. Given the canyon that is their difference defensively, they don’t need to be “close” offensively to make everything reasonably even out.

As for sample size, you can’t blame Joyce for being younger than Dunn.

Chris in Dallas December 11, 2008 at 10:18 am

Alright I slept on this one and I’m not quite as upset as I was last night. There’s a couple of things to like about this deal. First off, adding depth is never a bad thing with pitching. While Jackson’s results haven’t been in line with his stuff, he’s really only had two full time seasons as a starter. At least he’s had 31 starts in each so he seems durable. He’s also posted solid-average numbers at AL Central ballparks (WARNING: small sample size!) – @ the Jake: 1.04 ERA, @ CoPa: 4.50 ERA, @ the Cell: 4.50 ERA, @ the Metrodome: 16.62 ERA (OK that one is bad, but they’re not playing there much longer and it was only 4 innings), @ Kauffman Stadium: 3.38 ERA. So that’s grasping at some straws, but maybe it’s a small reason for some hope.

Chris Y. December 11, 2008 at 10:23 am

This argument is giving me deja vu:

http://www.detroittigersweblog.com/2007/10/tigers-acquire-edgar-renteria/#comments

And we all now know how that worked out.

Stellar.

Chris in Dallas December 11, 2008 at 10:45 am

Other Chris: That thread got a little weird towards the end…Anyhoo, I think those two trades are apples v. oranges. At least with this trade, Jackson is a) a pitcher and b) only 25. With the Renteria trade they gave up youth for age and pitching for offense (I refuse to call what E-Rent did with a glove on his hand “defense”).

BaseballinDC December 11, 2008 at 11:08 am

I can’t say I’m very enthusiastic about the Tigers’ off season moves. They’re acting as if they finished first, and only need a few tweaks. Laird’s probably the biggest upgrade, and we now have two Ramon Santiago like SSs (solid D, no bat). I guess the thought is you can make it through 2009 by platooning them. With a need for a real closer and some quality starters, I had hoped the Tigers were going cheap on the other positions to make a run at the starter they most need – AJ Burnett – who doesn’t need a lot of relief behind him. Instead, they trade for a mediocre relief pitcher. There’s no shortage of mediocrity in the bullpen.

Andre in Chicago December 11, 2008 at 11:11 am

fume,

“Jackson is a project/prospect, in the same sense that Joyce is. If you expect Jackson to repeat his ‘08 season, this is a bad trade. If you expect Jackson to improve from ‘08 to ‘09 like he did from ‘07 to ‘08, this is a good trade.

A decent comparison of where Jackson is right now might be Bonderman ~2004/5. ”

you might be right to compare Jackson and Bonderman, but its based on an assumption of improvement. i’m not down on Jackson, per se, but rather the cost in acquiring him. that Bonderman went on to do bigger and better things after 04/05 wasn’t a given and his value at the time would have reflected that. we really have nothing to indicate one way or the other what Jackson’s performance next year will be, but we can guess that every year he doesn’t really impress lowers his ceiling a little. on the other hand, Joyce did show some promise in his first real stint in the league, so you would think that his potential is a little higher. on the surface, we gave up too much.

DD isn’t an idiot though, so it makes me wonder if the Tigers believe that either Robertson or Willis (possibly even Bonderman) will be able to contribute much to ’09 (assuming Jackson goes to the rotation). i really hope there’s some more reasoning behind this move that we haven’t heard yet.

Chris in Dallas December 11, 2008 at 11:20 am

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. A few folks mentioned it, but Jackson may be an under-the-radar closer candidate. He does throw wicked hard and has a decent slider for a swing and miss pitch. His control would need to improve, though.

stephen December 11, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Chris Y., thank you for remind me of one of my few correct forecasts:
Re: Edgar
I need to digest this. I know I was advocating dealing prospects alll summer, but my initial gut reaction was this trade comes about four months too late and the team seems on the precipice of getting too old. Maybe I’ve got too many Red Sox friends who cursed him all of 05. I’ve said it before, the real window for this team was 06 and 07 when Dombrowski and us fans were mouthing the words to the Carpenters’ ‘We’ve Only Just Begun.’ We just didn’t realize the window was right in front of us at the time. Good or bad, this trade makes 08 the last year of said window. You can talk about Zoom, Bonderman, and Verlander all you want, this team is gonna be ancient come 09.’

Mark P December 11, 2008 at 1:53 pm

I too am not a fan of this trade for many of the reasons Bilfer has stated.

If we really felt the need to trade Joyce, would have rather that we waited out the market. In this case maybe we could have gone after Maicer Izturis if the Angels did not get Texiera wrapped up. They are looking for a corner outfielder. At least this Izturis brother has a bat unlike Everett.

Anyways, now with Everett singed and Joyce gone can we please look at getting a left handed bat who can run from first to third faster than a Shaq runs the court. Seriously, team speed is a big issue. Those extra bases over the course of a season make a big difference. How about Willie Harris for Zach Miner?

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=236&position=OF

RudeMood19 December 11, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Despite being young, does Jackson have any above-average pitches in his arsenal other than a plus fastball? Whenever we faced him last year, the Tigers simply had to wait on him to miss the plate. Great, we got another guy who hasn’t got great control.

I do hope this works out though, although I think Kazmir for Joyce would have been better =P

Brian P December 11, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Returning from a DTW hiatus, I felt compelled to express my resounding approval of this trade. We just got a 4/5 starter or closer for next to nothing. I too watched Joyce with much hope, but it became overwhelmingly obvious he could not hit off-speed pitches. I think all 12 of his home runs came on fastballs. The league knows this now — look at his stats for August and September.

Therefore, I’m predicting Joyce will never hit over .250 or have more than 10 home runs in a season. The Rays were fleeced.

Chris in Dallas December 11, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Rude: Here’s the scouting report on Jackson from Keith Law at ESPN/Scouts, Inc.:

“Jackson has an electric arm and is able to hold his velocity for 100 pitches, touching 97 or 98 late in the game and sitting in the mid-90s. His hard slider has good tilt with a break that starts early and deepens as the ball travels; he also flashes a below-average breaking ball.

His arm is quick, but there’s some effort in the delivery. It’s top-of-the-rotation stuff, but Jackson simply does not command either the fastball or the slider, and hitters make far too much contact given the quality of his two main pitches. After two mediocre-to-bad years as a starter, Jackson probably is due for a shot in the bullpen, where Detroit is deficient and manager Jim Leyland has had a lot of success with pitchers who have failed elsewhere.”

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3761749&name=law_keith

jud December 11, 2008 at 4:14 pm

bottom line is I would rather have depth in the pitching area than in the outfield even if this trade is a wash…outfielders I can find …pitching i am not so sure about

Steve in Kzoo December 11, 2008 at 4:17 pm

I agree with that statement. Not to mention outfielders for hard throwing 95 mph fastball pitchers are also hard to come by these days and for an average outfielder. ill take the pitcher that is a vital resource for us, to an outfielder to where we have an abundance of.

Andre in Chicago December 11, 2008 at 4:22 pm

“hard throwing 95 mph fastball pitchers are also hard to come by these days”

strange, KC just found themselves one. also, are there any soft throwing 95 mph fastball pitchers?

greg December 11, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Brian P – agreed on Joyce, I was starting to think I was the only one who felt that way.

Only thing is, I’ve been waiting for years and Jackson still hasn’t put it together and I’m starting to doubt he’ll be able to.

Ken in Las Vegas December 11, 2008 at 5:24 pm

Good question, Andre. Perhaps they are soft, as in pudgy or easy to push around. For instance, Gagne is a soft 95 mph fastball pitcher.

The trade was a wash. It’s a better trade if we’re grooming him for the bullpen IMO. If we don’t deal for a closer, then I have a feeling Jackson and Rodney will duel it out for that spot.

Phil Downs December 11, 2008 at 5:34 pm

Maybe they picked up Jackson to play quarterback for the Lions this weekend.

Steve in Kzoo December 11, 2008 at 5:49 pm

Andre and Ken thanks for entering sarcasm to my comment haha lol. Though seriously how cheap can those types of young fast throwing pitchers come, definitely not a dime a dozen like Joyce will be. Joyce will probably not hit much better then .260 AVG with around 20 HR a year. We have a log jam as well at OF right now so the trade makes sense. Stock pile pitchers. They were also saying on Baseball Tonight that we needed to add another starter. Fancy that lol, but its true lol.

Lets look at that? Verlander solid, Bonderman rebound?, Galarraga regress, Willis rebound to 2003 form?, and Jackson wildcard? Thoughts? And are they right that we need more starters?

But the biggest question is closer, will it be a signing? Will it be a trade? Will it be Jackson? or will it be another closer by committee? or finally crooked hat man-Rodney? I hope not to all but a signing, right now I’m in agreement with I think it was Andre, Trevor Hoffman now looks like the best on the market, either that or get Smoltzy back here.

Andre in Chicago December 11, 2008 at 5:54 pm

Ken,

“It’s a better trade if we’re grooming him for the bullpen IMO. If we don’t deal for a closer, then I have a feeling Jackson and Rodney will duel it out for that spot.”

i hope not. i’m not saying you’re in this camp, but i hear a lot of people saying we need a guy that can throw hard and “slam the door” as our closer. Jackson has not shown any indication of being that guy:

- weak k/bb ratio
- dudes batting .290 against him
- WHIP around 1.60
- FIP of 4.90

you bet he’s a #4/#5, but we didn’t give up “next to nothing” for him. who knows, this trade might pan out; Joyce could end up never seeing the high side of .250 or 10 hr (although i doubt the latter unless he plays half a year or less) and Jackson might suddenly find control. but considering that rookie years are seldom the highwater marks of ones career (one exception being my DDR rookie year), we don’t know what Joyce can or can’t do in the future, but we’ve got a fairly good idea with Jackson so far.

now, the trade has been made, so its not like i’ll be rooting against Jackson. i also am of the opinion that DD knows what he’s doing (generally), so i’m going to talk myself into giving the benefit of the doubt, but i’m still going to look at the numbers and say we paid high.

Mark P December 11, 2008 at 5:57 pm
Andre in Chicago December 11, 2008 at 6:07 pm

Steve,

“We have a log jam as well at OF right now so the trade makes sense. Stock pile pitchers.”

i don’t see the log jam, not this year and not in the coming years with Guillen and Ordonez likely moving from their ’08 positions. As Matt Wallace @ take 75 north points out:

“the Tigers are essentially choosing Gary Sheffield over [Joyce]. Instead of having a corner outfield and designated hitter rotation of Carlos Guillen, Magglio Ordonez and Matt Joyce, they’re sticking with a far less dynamic pairing of Guillen, Ordonez and Gary Sheffield. With Joyce, they could have given both Guillen and Ordonez “days off” at DH and improved their outfield defense considerably every time they did it. They gain no such benefit without him.”

again, for the time being, high price to pay for Jackson.

Chris in Dallas December 11, 2008 at 6:30 pm

I’ll miss Joyce. Remember that one stretch where he was the only Tiger to hit a HR for like 2 weeks? That was sweet – for him anyway.

Smoking Loon December 12, 2008 at 12:21 am

“Remember that one stretch where he was the only Tiger to hit a HR for like 2 weeks?’

Yeah. Didn’t he hit something like 5 over that stretch? I may have that wrong.

jud December 12, 2008 at 12:34 am

heres the thing about hard and soft throwing at 95…some pitchers at 95 throw that pitch and it gets popped up and caught ……Farnsworth throws that 95 mph pitch and it lands softly in the street outside the park or softly in the stands for a HR….thus you get a soft throwing 95…good luck Royals…you will need it

Smoking Loon December 12, 2008 at 1:33 am

Poor Royals. Goodbye Ramirez, hello Farnsworth. I feel your pain, Dave BW.

Mark in Chicago December 13, 2008 at 12:42 pm

I have a feeling this trade will not be a big deal, after all is said and done. I don’t think either player will have a huge impact, positive or negative.

Maybe that’s a good thing, frankly

Jason December 19, 2008 at 11:04 am

This trade is a massive win for the Tigers. People look too keenly at FIP, K/9, and so forth, when the name of the game is run prevention.

Jackson, as a 24-year-old, had a better than league average ERA+ in the toughest division in baseball. Joyce is a fungible corner outfielder who had a nice two-month run last year. This screams the Garza/Delmon Young deal in reverse.

Now we have Verlander, Bonderman, Jackson, Galarraga, and Miner. If we can get anything from Dontrelle, bonus.

Andre in Chicago December 19, 2008 at 12:49 pm

Jason,

i hate to follow up on your comments in two different forums, but without stirring up too much of the Jackson/Joyce debate, let me qualify a couple things you said

“when the name of the game is run prevention. … Jackson, as a 24-year-old, had a better than league average ERA+”

first, above average ERA+ sounds better than saying “he had a 101 ERA+”, which, even if i were inclined to view ERA as a good metric for a pitcher, means he’s literally average. you’re right in your valuation of defense, but its that same top-of-the-league defense that kept Jackson’s team-worst starting ERA, plus or otherwise, average in the first place.

people aren’t looking enough at his FIP and K numbers. below average pitcher (Jackson FIP & K/BB) + good defense (Tampa’s D) = mediocre results (Jackson ERA). the Tigers have beefed up their infield D, but Jackson is a fly ball guy who’s new outfield has (at best) 4 good knees to go around, so i’m not so sure if he repeats his deceptive numbers from last year.

this trade has the ability to work out, but it hinges on Jackson’s ability to improve, which isn’t a sure thing. if it works out and Jackson finds the strike zone then, given the Tigers pitching needs, this becomes a good trade. in the mean time, the critics (who are looking at numbers) are right to question…especially when all we hear in reply is that Jackson could eventually strike guys out without walking almost as many

Chris in Dallas December 19, 2008 at 1:45 pm

its that same top-of-the-league defense that kept Jackson’s team-worst starting ERA, plus or otherwise, average in the first place.

While I do agree with you, it’s helpful to keep in mind that Tampa had one of the worst defenses in the game in 2007. In other words, if the D helped keep his ERA average-ish in ’08, it can also be partly to blame for his ballooned ERA in ’07. My take on Jackson is that some years he’ll be perfectly average, and in others he’ll be slightly below. Hopefully ’09 will be one of the average ones – I’d take that out of a 4/5 starter.

Andre in Chicago December 19, 2008 at 3:17 pm

Chris in D,

“In other words, if the D helped keep his ERA average-ish in ‘08, it can also be partly to blame for his ballooned ERA in ‘07.”

you’re absolutely right. of course, this is why FIP is a handy (not perfect) way to look at a pitcher. Jackson’s FIP remained nearly identical between ’07 and ’08, so its safe to say that his “true” ERA is somewhere between 5.76 and 4.42. however, this average doesn’t strike me as perfect.

without wanting to put too much weight in ERA myself, assuming that is some peoples preferred metric, a +5.00 ERA is still not the stuff you want out of the back of your rotation let alone projecting him above the 4/5 slots (or the #2 if you’re Detnews).

he might be good, thus making the trade good, but that depends on him improving to an extent that he frankly hasn’t shown yet. the “yet” is possible, he’s quite young…but its been said for some time now too. the irony is that we acquired a flyball pitcher, who only appeared roughly average last year because of his team’s defense, by trading away one of our top defensive outfielders. bonus irony, one possible solution would have been to restore the left-field wall to the original dimensions (i know, i know…) but then where would that leave all our power RH batters?

Chris in Dallas December 19, 2008 at 4:27 pm

Really interesting post by Neyer today. Scroll to the bottom for some wisdom on Adam Everett…

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3782145&name=Neyer_Rob

Andre in Chicago December 19, 2008 at 5:02 pm

Chris in D,

awesome link, my fave part has to be “Runs Over Willie”. i’m gonna spend the weekend trying to work that into casual conversation.

girlfriend – “Jenna would look so much better as a blonde.”
me – “So you’re saying her “runs over Willie” would increase?”
girlfriend – “I hate you, baseball, and that stupid blog you’re always trying to talk to me about.”

Chris in Dallas December 19, 2008 at 5:42 pm

Dre: your girlfriend and mine sound like they could be related.

Jim December 23, 2008 at 12:52 pm

Chris & Andre ,

You are lucky you have girlfriends. Listen to your boring blubber.

Chris in Dallas December 23, 2008 at 2:07 pm

Ouch, Jim. Just…ouch.

Andre in Chicago December 23, 2008 at 2:38 pm

Jim,

clearly we were speaking in terms of hypothetical girl friends, we’d never dream of igniting the flame of jealousy in your lonely heart…

Smoking Loon December 24, 2008 at 4:04 pm

What have I walked into here? I’m rusty on scoring tennis, but I think it’s love-40, Andre. :)

I’ve got a searching analysis of the Joyce-Jackson trade coming, by the way, steeped in deepest sabermetrics.

Coleman December 24, 2008 at 10:29 pm

Smoking Loon: “What have I walked into here? I’m rusty on scoring tennis, but I think it’s love-40, Andre” I’ll give you a little assist then, in tennis scoring terminology, you would say it’s “Love-40, ‘Dre”

Smoking Loon December 25, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Joyce-for-Jackson song parody. Old folks like me and youngsters hip to the ’70s will remember the Three Dog Night hit “Joy To The World (Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog).” There is no doubt in my mind that Hoyt Axton anticipated the Joyce trade when he wrote the song – there’s no other explanation for how remarkably facile it is. Ironically, across the Midwest, it is quite literally a three dog night as I write this.

JOYCE TO THE RAYS (Marcus Thames Was His Partner)

Marcus Thames was his partner
Made a right good platoon
Figured Joyce was gonna get right field in ’10
But I guess I a-spoke too soon
‘Cause they craved another righty like Zoom
Singin’…

Joyce to the Rays
Gary Sheffield stays, now
Hope Carlos Guillen’s healthy all the way
Joyce to Tampa Bay

If I was to shore up the staff
I tell you what I’d do
I’d try to find the likes of a guy who throws strikes
Keep some lefty power, too
Sing it now…

Joyce to the Rays
Jackson’s on his way, now
Rick Knapp is gonna be a busy guy
Joyce, what did you buy?

You know Matt can’t hit lefties
Can Edwin learn to pitch?
If they’re gonna take him then they’d better make him
A strike-throwin’ son of a b%&%&
I said a strike-throwin’ son of a b%&%&

Joyce to the Rays
Plays in a beret, now
Joyce – wish him luck except against Detroit
Losing him might hoyt

Joyce to the Rays
Will we rue the day?
Joyce, now a Ray

Joyce to the Rays
Clevlen in his place, now
Why not take Larish or our D-no-H?
Damn you, Tampa Baych

Joyce to the Rays
Billfer’s on their case, now
What’s to become of kittens in the pen?
Well, there’s always Thames

Joyce to the Rays
Clears a bit of space, now
Let’s hope Clete Thomas will be back by June (or)
Wilkin’s ready soon

Note to the Rays:
Jax had best amaze, now (or he’ll)
Sleep with the fishes down Lake Erie way (and)
You’ll return M.J.

Dave BW December 26, 2008 at 11:21 am

Well done, SL. Thanks for mentioning the kittens.

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