Stealth GM Dave Dombrowski struck with just minutes to go before the non-waiver trade deadline, landing Tampa ace David Price in a three-team trade. The trade involved Tampa, Seattle and Detroit, and unfolded with Detroit getting Price from Tampa, Tampa getting Drew Smyly, Willy Adames, and Nick Franklin, and Seattle getting Austin Jackson.
The dominoes continued to fall shortly after the end of today’s game as well, with the Tigers purchasing the contract of outfielder Ezequiel Carrera from Toledo. They also recalled the injury rehab assignment of Pat McCoy, planning to activate him tomorrow, and optioned a struggling Ian Krol.
More after the jump.
The Tigers first surfaced as a potential landing spot for Price on Thursday afternoon, with various media members—and parody accounts—tossing out speculation and rumors, notably Tony Paul of the Detroit News and the dearly departed ken_rosenthal_.
Earlier in the day, the Tigers were said to be closing in on Boston Red Sox left-hander Andrew Miller before the deal fell through. Paul speculated this meant the Tigers had moved onto bigger and better things. It’s also possible Boston was asking for a player (Adames) who ended up going to Tampa in the Price deal.
No one really let themselves take the Price-to-Detroit rumors that seriously until Ken Rosenthal (the real one) tapped out this simple tweet:
Source: #Tigers get Price.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2014
That single tweet sent all of Tigers twitter into a tizzy. It’s a pity ken_rosenthal_ wasn’t around to enjoy it, really.
Shortly after the (real, non-parody) Rosenthal tweet came through—and Jon Heyman added who would be going back to Tampa—Jackson was pulled from the game mid-inning, mid-at bat. The now-former Tigers center fielder left Comerica Park to a standing ovation and hugs from his teammates. After the game, Jackson spoke to the media, as did Smyly. Both expressed some sadness at leaving behind their teammates, eagerness for the next chapters in their lives and careers, and gratefulness for the opportunities.
Smyly later tweeted this:
Thanks to the Tigers organization and fans for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dreams! Looking forward to the next chapter!
— Drew Smyly (@SmylyD) August 1, 2014
Meanwhile, David Price had this to say on social media:
wow…what a day!! Rays fans THANK YOU!! Great Chapter of my life just ended…ready to start a new one with the Tigers!! Thanks again
— David Price (@DAVIDprice14) July 31, 2014
With the Price trade, the Tigers now have the last three Cy Young award winners in Scherzer (2013), Price (2012) and Verlander (2011). The bullpen’s still a bit of a mess, but adding Price has to help at least a little bit because he’s an ace who’s proven he can go deep in games, and it’s not like Dombrowski is ignorant to the state of the ‘pen. A waiver deadline deal is still a possibility, even though Dombrowski said he’d be surprised if anything happened.
Price isn’t a rental either; he won’t be a free agent until after 2015. The Tigers can receive a draft pick as compensation if Price leaves as a free agent after next season, if they can’t extend him. Also, you have to think Price is their replacement for Max Scherzer, should Scherzer seek greener pastures.
The Tigers will probably miss Jackson’s defense in center field, but a mixture of Andy Dirks, Rajai Davis, Ezequiel Carrera and Don Kelly is palatable for the rest of the season and beyond. A Davis/Carrera platoon is probably most likely at this point, with the occasional Dirks and Kelly cameos.
The bottom line is this: trading for David Price is a win-now move. Yes, Jackson and Smyly were good players, but it’s clear the Tigers think adding Price gives them a better chance to win a World Series in 2014.