Rumors have surfaced in recent days that Milwaukee Brewers' GM Doug Melvin has talked with Tigers' GM Dave Dombrowski over the possibility of acquiring starting pitcher Edwin Jackson. Jackson is being shopped in a cost-cutting move by the Tigers.
Jackson is coming off the best statistical season of his career, and he is under team control for two more years. He made $2.2 million in 2009.
It was a tale of two seasons for the young righty. He was named to his first All-Star team in July with a 7-4 record and a 2.52 ERA.
By the end of the season, his ERA had risen to 3.62 with a record of 13-9. Over his final 12 starts, he gave up three runs or less only three times. He finished the season with almost 30 more innings pitched than at any point in his career.
It appeared that he suffered from a tired arm, but it should be something that won't hamper him in the future. He's now been a regular starter for three seasons, building up his innings pitched each year. There should be no ill effects from the end of 2008, and he should have no issues throwing 200 innings again in 2010.
The Tigers could use help at a few different positions. If Curtis Granderson is traded, they could use help in the outfield. Brandon Inge will be entering the final year of his deal in 2010, and the Tigers could look for an eventual replacement at third base for him.
The Brewers have a couple outfield prospects that aren't ready for the Majors, but could be long-term solutions in center field to replace Granderson. Lorenzo Cain and Logan Schafer have became the organizations top two outfield prospects.
Corey Hart could also be a trade candidate. He has two years left of team control and could be moved to center if needed. Despite missing over 50 games due to injury, Hart still had a good season. His power numbers dropped, but he drew a career-high number of walks and raised his on-base percentage from .300 in 2008 to .335 last year.
Hart's price tag may be more than what the Tigers are looking to spend, so they could inquire about Mat Gamel or Casey McGehee. Each are cheap options at third base, however neither one is nearly the defensive player of Inge, but both are better choices at the plate.
The teams may run into a stumbling block in the Tigers want young pitching in return. All the good pitching prospects for the Brewers are at Double-A or lower in the system. Gamel should be enough on his own for Jackson, given that the young third baseman is under team control for six more seasons and still regarded as a top hitting prospect.
Even with an arbitration raise, Jackson would be a cheaper option financially than most pitchers on the free agent market. If Manny Parra can live up to his potential, a staff fronted by Jackson, Parra, and Yovani Gallardo would greatly improve the rotation from 2009.
Edwin Jackson is definitely an option that Doug Melvin should pursue. Jackson helps the depth of the rotation, while not having a lot of wear and tear on his arm. His numbers should improve in the National League, and he could very easily return to the All-Star form he showed in the first half of 2009.
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