Detroit Tigers trade Joe Jiménez in exchange for two prospects

Jun 1, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joe Jimenez (77) delivers a pitch during the 2021 season.
Jun 1, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joe Jimenez (77) delivers a pitch during the 2021 season. / Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Tigers trade Joe Jiménez for two prospects.

The Detroit Tigers got busy late on Wednesday night. Winter Meetings are winding down in San Diego, and the Tigers have been working the phones. Joe Jiménez was traded to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for third baseman/outfielder Justyn-Henry Malloy and left-handed pitcher Jake Higginbotham.

The Detroit Tigers had been rumored to be shopping Jiménez, and a trade should not surprise anyone, but the return may be the puzzling part. Many, including myself, may have expected an MLB-level player on the return, but the investment will look good with these two, Malloy in particular.

The Tigers opted to send Jiménez to Atlanta, where he will ride out his last season before hitting the free-agent market. It's a "rental" for the Braves to keep building their bullpen. After coming off a stellar season, it's easy to see why Jiménez is viewed as a benefit to their bullpen.

Jiménez played in 62 games, where he totaled 56.2 innings pitched. He managed a 3.49 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. He managed 77 punchouts during that time as well. He held down his role in the bullpen and had a tremendous bounce-back season in 2022.

The Tigers viewed Jiménez as an expendable piece of the bullpen, as they should have. Getting something from him on the trade market only helps them get better. Getting Malloy in the return package really is the vital part of this trade, he's going to be great.

Malloy is a former sixth-rounder from Georgia Tech University. He began his collegiate career with Vanderbilt University, spending two years with the Commodores before transferring to the Yellow Jackets program.

He has risen through the ranks of the Braves organization, spending the 2022 season with three different affiliates, getting up to Gwinnett with the Braves Triple-A affiliate. Though, Malloy spent the majority of his time with Rome as a part of the team's High-A affiliate.

In total, Malloy played in 133 games where he slashed .289/.408/.454 with 28 doubles, 17 home runs, and 81 RBI to his credit. He's listed as a third baseman and outfielder and has the ceiling to be a big time big leaguer. He went out west this fall as a part of the Arizona Fall League, getting it done there as well. Malloy slashed .306/.438/.444 with seven extra-base hits and seven RBI.

Following the trade announcement, Scott Harris spoke about Malloy's ability to command the strike zone, laying off bad pitches, and making good swing decisions during his time with the media. Malloy fits the "Scott Harris 3 pillars," so it makes sense why he is psyched about bringing him in.

The Tigers are likely to send him to Triple-A to start the 2023 season, and since he is not on the team's 40-man roster, it saves a spot and gives him time to move through the organization. Malloy was the 11th-best prospect in the Braves organization and will end up near the top of the Tigers' farm system.

Malloy is not the only player added. Jake Higginbotham is a Double-A reliever who made 48 appearances, accumulating 51.1 innings pitched. Higginbotham pitched to a 4.73 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP and managed 48 punchouts.

There's more to be desired with Higginbotham during his time with the Mississippi Braves at the team's Double-A affiliate. There's room for him to improve, and Harris obviously feels that time spent developing in Detroit's system will do him well.

The trade seems like a good one for the future. The Tigers were able to get something for Jiménez, and Malloy has the chance to be a real high-upside player for the team down the line.

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