2009 Player Profile: Edwin Jackson

Edwin Jackson #36

  • Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 210
  • 2008 Stats: 14-11, 4.42 ERA

EdwinJacksonHead.jpgWhen the Tigers traded Matt Joyce to the Tampa Bay Rays for Jackson, Detroit fans scratched their heads – and not only because Joyce appeared to have a future in the Tigers outfield. Jackson is an unknown quantity outside of the A.L. East and the Tigers have only faced the righthander four times since 2006 for a total of 16 innings (1-0, 3.38 ERA, 12 K). He became expendable in pitching-rich Tampa despite a pedestrian 2008 (14-11, 4.42) due mainly to the emergence of David Price, but from most accounts, the Tigers landed themselves a gem and a durable number-three man in the rotation.

The 25-year-old Jackson features a mid-90s fastball and a devastating slider – and batters hit just above .200 when facing the slider. In 2009, watch for Jackson to stick with his formula for success: working the lower half of the strike zone and the corners of the plate – up and away on lefties, high and tight on righties. And, if he can maintain his low rate of walks per nine innings (2.5), Jackson will pay rapid dividends for the Tigers.

The Top 10 Tigers Stories of 2008: #5 – The Emergence (and Trade) of Matt Joyce

Number 5When I began pulling together this list over the past month or so, it became clear that possibly the only positive story to come out of the Tigers season was the emergence of Matt Joyce. Joyce finished the 2008 season with a .252 average, 12 homers and 33 RBI in 92 games.

At long last, the Tigers appeared to have developed a left-handed power-ish hitter who could take over one of the corner outfield slots perhaps as soon as 2009.

But, when Jim Leyland announced that left field would be Carlos Guillen‘s position next season and when it became more apparent that Magglio Ordonez was going nowhere this offseason, Joyce’s role went from promising to fuzzy — at best.

Nevertheless, Joyce was a sign of progress in the Tigers’ farm system beyond pitching depth and maybe a budding star.

Until he wasn’t…at least in Detroit.

Three weeks ago he was dealt to his hometown of Tampa Bay for pitcher Edwin Jackson. From what we’ve read, the acquisition of Jackson will be a winning one for the Tigers. And in the end maybe it will be.

Still, it would be nice to see a young position player develop into a star — or something close to it — wearing the old English D.

Joyce Goes Home, Tigers Fans Go “Huh?”

Meet your new number-three starter: Edwin Jackson. Or maybe he’s number two. Who knows? All we do know is that the Tigers made the most curious trade since…since…Dickie Noles-for-Dickie Noles?

While the Mets, Mariners and Indians were swingin’ a 12-player trade (with J.J. Putz as the centerpiece) the Tigers were not zeroing in on a closer, instead they were dealing for a starting pitcher.

The 25-year-old Jackson won a career-high 14 games in 2008 at the back end of the rotation during Tampa Bay’s breakout season. He posted a 4.42 ERA to go with his 14-11 record, pitching 183 1/3 innings, allowing 199 hits and 77 walks while striking out 108. Jackson’s arrival adds some more certainty to a rotation that faced major question marks at the back end. Justin Verlander and Armando Galarraga are the only certainties from last year, while Jeremy Bonderman is expected to be back to full strength after missing the second half of last season following shoulder surgery.

Ian offers some hefty analysis of the deal here.

Lynn Henning suggests that this deal could be a signal that the Tigers’ are concerned with Jeremy Bonderman‘s progress. That or the Tigers are hedging their bets against another poor season by Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis.

Or both. What do you make of this trade?

Matt Joyce for Edwin Jackson

I really want to give Dave Dombrowski the benefit of the doubt on this one. I really do. But I am not seeing it.

Matt Joyce is a lefthanded power bat, something the Tigers have needed for a while, who could take over at either of the corner OF spots once Sheffield was gone and either Maggs or Guillen could move to DH. I guess the Tigers think Jeff Larish can play outfield, too.

While the Tigers needed an influx of major-league ready arms, closer was the most pressing need. Edwin Jackson has a great arm, but he’s had plenty of problems finding the plate. Granted, he’s young and could come around.

Someone want to talk me down on this one? I’m all ears.