Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays ship pitcher Edwin Jackson to Tigers for outfielder Matt Joyce

Right-hander Edwin Jackson, 25, is set to get a raise in his first year of arbitration eligibility after going 14-11 with a 4.42 ERA for the Rays. He heads for Detroit in exchange for Matt Joyce.


Right-hander Edwin Jackson, 25, is set to get a raise in his first year of arbitration eligibility after going 14-11 with a 4.42 ERA for the Rays. He heads for Detroit in exchange for Matt Joyce.

LAS VEGAS — The Rays are still looking to sign a big-name free agent as their DH. Late Wednesday, they got a young player with a big bat who could end up as their primary rightfielder, acquiring Armwood High grad Matt Joyce from Detroit for 14-game winner Edwin Jackson.

Joyce, 24, hit .252 with 12 homers and 33 RBIs in 92 games during two stints with the Tigers as a rookie in 2008, making a smashing debut with 10 homers in his first 36 big-league games.

"We feel like Matt Joyce can be a very good player for us," Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. "We think he's an above average defensive rightfielder with plus power. We like what he brings to our club and like the years of control that we have (through 2014). We feel like he'll help us for many years to come."

After assessing the market, the Rays seemed more likely to sign a free agent DH than a rightfielder, with Jason Giambi and Milton Bradley appearing to be the top candidates.

They remain hopeful of doing so, though Friedman said getting Joyce "adds to our depth in the event that the market plays out in a way where we don't end up with one of the guys we'd like to. We're fortunate then to have Matt Joyce."

If not at the start of the season, Joyce eventually projects to be the frontline rightfielder. Gabe Gross could still be in the opening day lineup, with Fernando Perez another possibility, as Joyce has minor-league options remaining.

"We always have to keep one eye on the present and one eye on the future," Friedman said. "While we expect this trade will impact us in 2009, we think it will also pay dividends down the road. And we have to remain mindful of those (future)years to remain competitive in the American League East."

The Rays made the deal from strength, as they were deep in starting pitching. Jackson was 14-11 with a 4.42 ERA in what was a breakthrough season, having gone 11-19, 5.64 previously. The question is whether the Rays traded him when his value was highest, or when he was on the verge of continued success.

Friedman insisted the Rays were not looking to trade a starter, but it became "abundantly clear" they would have to in order to make a deal. "Edwin Jackson was a big part of our turnaround," he said. "It wasn't something we were out necessarily seeking to do. But you have to give up talent to get talent."

Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said Jackson, 25, will be in their rotation and acknowledged that it was "kind of unusual" to be able to trade for a 14-game winner. "We got a pitcher we think will help us,'' Dombrowski said. "He's got great stuff. Everybody in baseball has known his ability and potential for years. It looks like he took a step forward last year, and hopefully he'll continue to take a step forward for us.''

Trading Jackson saves the Rays about $2-million, as he is eligible for arbitration for the first time. The move also opens a spot in the rotation for rookie sensation David Price, though Friedman said that was not automatic and that Jason Hammel, Jeff Niemann and Mitch Talbot would also have a chance to compete for the vacancy.

Jackson said he had heard enough rumors that he was not surprised to be dealt.

"I'm not disappointed in any way," he said by phone. "I've been traded before, so I know how to handle being traded. … Don't get me wrong, I didn't want to leave Tampa, I was comfortable there. You have to understand it's a business. So I just look at it that I'm going to another team, and I'll go over there and give it all I have."

Joyce is currently playing for Aguilas in the Mexican League, hitting .291 with eight homers and 25 RBIs in 30 games.

The trade came together Wednesday after Friedman and Dombrowski had spoken several times about other potential possibilities, including multiteam deals that would have netted the Tigers a closer.

"I guess we finally simplified it and went one-on-one," Dombrowski said.

Tampa Bay Rays ship pitcher Edwin Jackson to Tigers for outfielder Matt Joyce 12/10/08 [Last modified: Friday, December 12, 2008 2:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals


    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'


    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

    Former Tampa Bay Lightning player center Brian Boyle (24), on the ice during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on March 16, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.