"The Tigers have made Jackson available on the trade market as part of an effort to alleviate their payroll crunch, multiple major league sources told FOXSports.com.Look, I understand that the Tigers have a number of holes that they need to fill this offseason and their economic situation is shaky at best. Edwin Jackson becomes an attractive trade candidate for the Tigers because he is young, coming off a fantastic season, and is due a nice raise in arbitration.
It's not clear if club president/general manager Dave Dombrowski is engaged in serious talks with other clubs about Jackson. There is no indication that a deal is close. But it's telling that the team is considering trade scenarios involving Jackson at all.
The Tigers' Opening Day payroll this year was roughly $132 million, among the highest in baseball. Even if that figure stays the same, Dombrowski will need to shift resources in order to make upgrades.
Why? It's simple: Escalating contracts signed during better economic times are causing a squeeze."
But in my opinion, trading Jackson is the wrong move for the Tigers to make. Just look at the Tigers rotation-after Verlander, Porcello, and Jackson; there is not much else there right now. Unless the Tigers are confident in Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson, or dare I say Dontrelle Willis, there is no way that the Tigers can afford to trade one of their three best starting pitchers and realistically expect to compete in 2010.
The Tigers simply do not have any capable replacements ready to shoulder the load should Jackson be dealt.
In addition, the Tigers areas of need might not be that costly. The Tigers need to add a closer, some pieces to the back end of the bullpen, a shortstop and maybe a second baseman. Well, luckily for the Tigers, the market is flush with capable closers, so the odds are high that if Dombrowski is patient, that he will be able to land one (or maybe two) closer(s) at a very team friendly rate ($8-$9 million or so). It would be smart for the Tigers to bring back Adam Everett, who will probably command nothing more than a one year deal worth $2 or so million bucks.
Assuming that the Tigers have roughly $12 million to work with, I see no reason why Dombrowski cannot fill most of the team's needs with the cash at hand without moving Edwin Jackson.
And finally, both Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson will be free agents after the 2011 season. Assuming that both guys put together productive 2010 and 2011 seasons, there's no reason to think that both of these guys won't be handsomely paid. But luckily for the Tigers, they will have the ability to lock up both pitchers. After the 2010 season, the Tigers have an astounding amount of money coming off the books, which they will then be able to use to keep Verlander and Edwin Jackson around long term.
So even though the situation looks dire in 2010, the reality is that after the season is over, the Tigers will have a tremendous amount of payroll flexibility and should have the ability to sign Edwin Jackson to a long term contract if they choose too.
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