The Rays may one day regret trading Edwin Jackson.
But today is not that day.
With Jackson throwing a no-hitter against them Friday, there is an obvious temptation to revisit the December 2008 trade that sent Jackson to Detroit. Even more so because Matt Joyce, the player the Rays got back for Jackson, made four of the 27 outs.
The Rays knew when they traded Jackson, at age 25, that he was capable of doing good — and even great — things. Their issues were more whether he could do so consistently, and whether he would be worth the hefty raise he was due for through arbitration, from $412,700 to $2.2 million.
So though Jackson has been an All-Star and — after being traded again, from Detroit to Arizona — has thrown a no-hitter and won 18 games (while losing 15), and Joyce, 25, has played in just 13 games and hit .184, that judgment can't be made. Not yet, anyway.
"I can't lament any of that," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I still believe Matt Joyce is going to be a very good major-league player, and you still have to wait and follow that. And I really believe a lot in Matt.
"I think, eventually, you're going to see the benefits on our side, too. You just haven't had a chance to see them yet."
Actually, in a way, the Rays already have. They traded Jackson because they were going to keep either Jeff Niemann or Jason Hammel for the fifth spot in the rotation. And Niemann is 19-8 in that span and Hammel 15-11 for Colorado.
Did the Rays make a bad decision? Did the Dodgers in trading Jackson to the Rays? Did the Tigers in sending him to the D'backs?
"I don't think anyone has ever traded Edwin Jackson with the notion that they didn't believe in him or think that he was a quality pitcher," Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said.
And no matter how many have doubted him or given up on him, Jackson has always had faith.
"I've had a lot of people say this and say that, but I've always said … nobody can write anything and predict what's going to happen in my career," Jackson said. "The only person that can dictate that is me. … I can listen to what's being said and stay buried, or you can fight it and find a way to get out."