The Detroit Tigers confused the world of baseball this winter when they traded right-hander Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals for Robbie Ray. Fister had three years of team control remaining, and he was coming off of two very good seasons (3.29 ERA, 1.19 WHIP) in Detroit. Ray was rated as the 97th best prospect prior to the 2014 season by MLB.com, but after the Tampa Bay Rays were able to get the haul that they did (including Wil Myers) for two years of control of James Shields, it was assumed by many that Fister would bring much more than a single prospect, particularly one that had posted most of his solid 2013 numbers while repeating High-A.
Still, the deal was made, and the Tigers still had a rotation that featured reigning AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and Anibal Sanchez, while management was hoping that young pitchers Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly could step up to take on the slack at the back of the rotation. Porcello had taken that step, winning 12 of his 20 starts with the best season, to date, of his career, but Dave Dombrowski wanted more.
With the Oakland A’s adding Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel, and, on Thursday morning, Jon Lester, via trades, the Tigers would need to make a move to compete with the dynamic rotation that Billy Beane and company had manufactured, while keeping the core of the team together. Just before the trade deadline, that move was made.
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
The Detroit Tigers acquired David Price in a three-team deal with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Seattle Mariners.
The deal broke down like this:
Detroit Received: LHP David Price
Seattle Received: CF Austin Jackson
The Mariners needed a center fielder and a right-handed bat, which Jackson filled nicely. The Tigers wanted another arm to counter the A’s move, and they certainly did that by getting the top arm on the market in Price. And, well, the Rays traded Price, knowing that the team acquiring him would be on the hook for nearly $20 million next year through arbitration, which resulted in a less than “wow” type of package in return; however, the Rays now have Smyly, Jake Odorizzi, Alex Cobb, and Chris Archer in their rotation, making it quite strong, while adding a piece that could, ultimately, allow them to deal Ben Zobrist, who is still under team control (due to an option) for 2015, or plug him into another position with Franklin taking over second base. Adames has performed well in the Low-A Midwest League at the age of 18, showing some patience and power that could excite the Rays as he continues to climb the ranks.
The deal has positives for everyone involved, but the Tigers getting Price was definitely the haul, and adding him to the rotation immediately makes the club the team to beat in the American League. They now have the last three AL Cy Young winners in their rotation, while featuring Miguel Cabrera, the reigning two-time MVP, offensively.
With Max Scherzer heading towards free agency, the Tigers just replaced him for the 2015 season, while making sure that they get a compensatory pick, which will come due to a qualifying offer rejection from Scherzer prior to his signing with a new club this winter. David Price didn’t cost as much as many expected, especially with the rumored demands that were leaked regarding the Indians and Dodgers, and he will not only help the Tigers this season, he will make them a top team entering 2015. Whether he signs an extension with Detroit is to be determined, but if there are any Tigers fans out there who are upset about losing Drew Smyly, Austin Jackson, and a low level prospect for David Price, feel free to throat punch them.