Tigers Acquire David Price in 3 Team Deal

The Detroit Tigers have acquired left handed starting pitcher, and 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner, David Price.  The Tigers had to pay a price, as center fielder Austin Jackson will go to Seattle, and starter Drew Smyly, prospect Willy Adames, and infielder Nick Franklin will go to Tampa Bay.  Jackson was lifted from the game in the middle of the seventh inning while he was playing center field.  So Seattle had to give up Franklin and got Jackson, while the Tigers gave up Jackson and Smyly for Price, and the Rays only gave up Price to get Smyly and Franklin.  The deal was reported first by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

This year David Price has 3.11 ERA this season, just below his career ERA of 3.18.  He is currently 11-7, and has 1.04 WHIP, with a league leading 189 strikeouts.  He won the Cy Young award in 2012, giving the Tigers three starters who’ve won the Cy Young in their rotation.  Verlander in 2011, Price in 2012, and Scherzer in 2013.  They’ll join Rick Porcello and Anibal Sanchez in one of the strongest rotations in baseball.  Price has a 2.6 WAR this season.  He was the centerpiece of the deal.

The Mariners got Austin Jackson, who is a great center fielder, he’s known for having great range in center field and is hitting .273 with 4 homers this year.  Jackson started the year off by getting kicked out of the leadoff spot for the Tigers, and started slowl, but he had 15 multi-hit games in July for the Tigers, the second most all-time for any Tiger in this month.  He’s been hitting leadoff again and it’s helped raise his average.  Jackson has some speed and his power numbers are down this year, but he figures to make a big impact on Seattle’s playoff push

The Rays got three young players.  The first is Drew Smyly, who had been the Tigers fifth starter this year and figures to replace him in their starting rotation.  He is just 2015 and under team control through the 2018 season.  He had a 3.77 ERA coming into pitch today and has put together a solid season.  They also got infielder Nick Franklin from the Mariners, a former top prospect who has impressed many, including myself, coming up.  He was slated to play second base, but the Mariners then signed Robinson Cano, so he was stuck in AAA this year, and the Mariners even attempted to shift him to the outfield.  He should finally get a long term opportunity in Tampa.  Willy Adames came into this year as one of the Tigers middle of the range prospects, because he has talent but he was young and hadn’t proven anything.  He got an opportunity to play at West Michigan with many players who are well older than him, and Adames has held his own, and impressed many.

ANALYSIS: I’ll look at this deal from each end, starting with the Tigers, who are most likely winners in this deal.  It’s World Series or bust for the Tigers and they now have a dominant starting rotation for the playoffs.  The offense will lack some without Jackson, but if the current outfielders keep hitting well, the Tigers are in fine shape.  Rajai Davis can play center for the Tigers this year, but I think they’ll need to explore getting an outfielder in the offseason.  Also, it looks as if the Tigers will try an extend Price, which most likely means Max Scherzer will test free agency and walk, clearing a spot up for Robbie Ray to start now.  Obviously getting Price is huge for the Tigers, he helps make the rotation better and is a big upgrade over Smyly.  He pitched a gem at Comerica Park earlier this month, and should be the ace of the staff.  Great trade for the Tigers and Price, but winning the World Series is key.  He’s just getting hot too, and he probably won’t slow down. The Tigers could acquire a bullpen arm or even a bat in August still.  Tigers fans can all tell you about the Delmon Young trade in 2011.

The Mariners are big winners too because they didn’t need Franklin, even though I think he’s better than Brad Miller.  Austin Jackson will instantly help this line-up.  Jackson might fit better in Seattle.  He can cover SAFECO’s spacious ground for sure, and utilize his speed.  His power numbers might not come all the way up, but the Mariners have a good leadoff hitter now, and this si the type of move that could really help Seattle move into a playoff spot.

The Rays got a kind of small return.  With Adames, he’s a talented shortstop who could almost be ready by the end of Escobar’s contract, but he’s only 18, so he’s a super risky buy, despite all of his talent.  I think SMyly will carve out a good career in Tampa and improve on his already good numbers.  He has 2 WAR and can be a good number 3 and useful out of the bullpen.  The Rays best pick-up in the deal was Smyly.  Franklin could hit for power in Tampa and maybe replace Zobrist when he leaves, he will finally get a shot, but his average might still be lower, but I think his power numbers will be impressive for a middle infielder.  The overall return was decent for the Rays, but they could’ve done better.

My last little ramble on trades is that they’re fun, and heartbreaking all at the same time.  As you saw with Jackson leaving the game today, it’s hard to say goodbye to a teammate, but ultimately every team got at least a little better most likely.  That brings me to my last point of the fact you can;t fully judge a trade until every player in it retires.  Price and the Tigers could win the World Series, which makes them winners, but maybe in 2016 the Mariners win it with Jackson being a big helper, so they win it too.  Winning a World Series is the only way you can win a trade partially before all the players involved retire.


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