Friday, November 13, 2009

Tigers Should Sell High on Edwin Jackson

Rumors have been making rounds that Tigers right-hander Edwin Jackson is being made available in trade, and given that he's coming off an impressive 13-9, 3.62 ERA season, his trade value should be quite high as he should be relatively cheap until he's a free agent after the 2011 season.

You would think that moving Jackson, who supposedly established himself as a solid #2 behind Justin Verlander this season, would be a mistake given his talent and improvement in 2009, but at this point, the Tigers may have a great opportunity to sell high.

His 4.28 FIP and 4.58 xFIP don't support his impressive superficial statistics, and rather than continue his improvement into an elite starter, he's more likely to regress next season, as his ERA was helped by Detroit's quality defense and some good luck.

If the Tigers can market Jackson as a young top of the rotation starter that's finally coming into his own after years of hype as a top prospect, then they could potentially land a massive haul, even though it's likely that Jackson's 2010 ERA is closer to his 4.42 mark from 2008 than his 3.62 mark from 2009.

The only problem with dealing Jackson would be Detroit's short-term rotation, which would likely consist of Verlander, Rick Porcello, Jeremy Bonderman, Armando Galarraga and Nate Robertson if Jackson is dealt, and that rotation likely wouldn't be enough to contend, even in the AL Central.

But freeing up some cash from dealing Jackson could land the team some good young prospects, something that the organization is lacking in, and then the team could pursue a starter on the free agent market. Given how much money the Tigers have coming off the books after 2010, moving Jackson for some young guys that could be ready to make an impact by 2011, could put the team in a great position to build around Miguel Cabrera and Verlander.


  1. Hey Scribble, cool blog, but I have to disagree with the sentiment that they have to trade him, not that you alluded to it.

    As you said, their rotation behind Verlander is just godawful if they trade him. If the Tigers still see themselves as contenders, then they have to hold on to him, just like they have to hold on to Polanco, etc. If they blow it up, by all means trade him, but I still think that Detroit wants to compete in the division. Even if they go after a guy like Lackey, they still have to deal with the Red Sox, Yanks perhaps, Mets, Angels, Mariners, etc.

    I guess another part to consider would be if Edwin Jackson is going to be worth more in the future. I happen to think that he can improve on his season, but the FIP doesn't exactly help my case.

  2. A big part of the question, to me, is what exactly does Detroit expect from Jackson in 2010?

    My primary point was that because he's likely to regress on some level in 2010, the Tigers could be better off selling high on Jackon in order to add pieces that could greatly improve the 2011/2012 product.

    The Tigers have a chance at contending in 2010 with Jackson on board, but realistically, they'd be more of a 85-90 win team, one that could certainly make the playoffs but would need a lot of luck in order to actually win a World Series.

    Certainly, it could be a worthwhile venture to hold onto him. But alternatively, they could trade him, save all of the cash that they'll get from departing free agents after the season, and try to build up all of those resources to try to build a legitimate World Series contender around Verlander, Porcello and Cabrera.

    It just seems to me that the Tigers could probably get more value in 2011 and on from whatever they would land in a Jackson trade than whatever Jackson himself will offer in the next two seasons.

    I personally would rather trade Jackson and hope to build a great team in 2011, rather than keep him and hope to have a couple of good teams in 2010 and 2011.

  3. You know, Edwin Jackson for Hardy and prospects doesn't seem like that bad of a deal. :)

    I guess if you think about it, the Tigers might see that the Twins could be a great team next year, and that they haven't improved and only resigned people while the Twins have improved with Hardy (Possible Beltre also).

    Not to say I think your side of the argument is blasphemous, I just think that when you consider the garbage that is the pitching staff behind Verlander, Jackson, and Porcello, the Tigers would rather take their chances with Jackson rather than suffer Bonderman or Miner starts, or even Willis I guess.

  4. I've been looking for this site of yours for a while on MLBTR. Fellow friend UnbiasedYankee, that's me. MLBTR was becoming the MLB sites. Some nice content (Tim and the fellow writers), yet, lots of fanboys crying for Murphy and Castillo for Sizemore. Nice site and a nice name you have here. I'll be back.

    This should be more civilized. If you need another writer, I can start next week.

    I've shared lots of similar thoughts with you. I thought the Tigers should have flipped Jackson for major-league ready prospects at the break... his FIP at the time was around 3.60, which seemed only likely to increase, which it did.

    James expects a 4.72 FIP next year, with an actual ERA around the same thing. In addition, I'd be surprised to see Jackson not hit hard this year; his BABIP hits on the very low end of the scale, .281. In addition his TPRAB/c (self made stat; total pitches runs above average per 100 pitches) was 3.46. That does not equal success in my eyes. His Clutch stat actually went down from 2008 to 2009, from 1.51 to 1.19. In addition... his FB% went up 2.4 points, as did his FB/HR ratio, but certainly to a lesser degree (0.3 points). His tRA was the true story last year; 4.75. I expect Jackson to be a 3/4 type of starter next year, just as the true stats say this year. It's always been my belief he should have been Tampa's closer in 2008, and I still believe that this should be done.

    That said, Haggen is right. I don't think the Tigers would perfer anyone else in Jackson's place, but I suppose I could make the counter arguement that you could always try a reclamation project on a minor league deal. I think the Tigers need to give this a shot, as well. Given the Tigers limited resources, this may work. I can see the Tigers being interested by Bedard, if not the Dodgers. If not, perhaps Brett Myers?

    Dave Dombrowski needs to play the part of Martha Stewart here; sell high, before the stock is going to plummet. You've been given fair warning here, as well.