Rays get OF Matt Joyce for Edwin Jackson
UPDATE, 12:20: The deal was announced officially about an hour ago.
Basically, the Rays see Joyce as a potential starting rightfielder, though not necessarly on opening day 2009. They will still look to sign a big-name DH, though have some depth if they don't.
Jackson said he wasn't surprised to be dealt, and would take it as a new challenge.
- - - - - -
The Rays may have found the outfield help they were looking for as they are about to acquire OF Matt Joyce from Detroit for pitcher Edwin Jackson. No confirmation yet from either team, but final details are being worked out.
Joyce, 24, is an Armwood High grad who hit .252 with 12 homers and 33 RBIs in 92 games for the Tigers. The Florida Southern product made an impressive debut, hitting 10 homers in his first 36 big-league games (a feat matched by only three other players in the last 10 years). He is a left-handed hitter with a sweet swing. The Tigers sent him to the Mexican League to improve hitting off-speed pitches, and he has a .291 average, 8 homers and 25 RBIs in 30 games for Aguilas.
The Rays save around $2-million in dealing Jackson, who was due for a big raise in his first year of arbitration eligibility after going 14-11, 4.42 during the season.
Trading Jackson would appear to open a spot in the rotation for rookie sensation David Price, though Jason Hammel, Jeff Niemann and Mitch Talbot are other possibilities.
At the least, Joyce gives the Rays outfield depth, as they seem likely to non-tender Jonny Gomes by Friday's midnight deadline.