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ACES GALORE: The Rays trade David Price to the Tigers

Jul 31, 2014, 3:55 PM EDT

Take that, trade rumor industrial complex. No one was expecting this until about an hour ago, but now it’s official: The Tampa Bay Rays have traded David Price to the Detroit Tigers. Ken Rosenthal was the first to report the deal.

It was a three-way deal involving the Mariners as well. At the moment we know this much: The Rays will get swingman (but future full-time starter) Drew Smyly and promising 18-year-old infield prospect Willy Adames from the Tigers. The Mariners will get center fielder Austin Jackson from Detroit. The Mariners will then send infielder Nick Franklin to the Rays. Fun note: the Tigers are playing a game as we speak. When the trade was made, Austin Jackson was pulled out of center field in the middle of an at bat. Which is what you have to do, I guess.

The Tigers and the Athletics, who have met in epic playoff matchups the past two years, just made some big moves today. And, if our dreams come true, could face one another in the ALCS, with David Price, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez going up against Jon Lester, Sonny Gray, Jeff Samardzija and Scott Kazmir. Oh, and Rick Porcello and Jason Hammel and two terrifying offenses are hanging around too.

As for the Mariners: Austin Jackson is an offensive upgrade, though at the moment he’s having a down year. But you have to like the deal for them on its own terms: they just turned Nick Franklin into Jackson. You make that deal seven days a week.

For the Rays: Smyly projects into a decent starting pitcher, though likely no ace. Given that there is no chance they could have re-signed Price once he hit free agency, this is probably the best of a bad situation for them.

137 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. sabatimus - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    The other autoplays have been removed; why is this one here?

    • sophiethegreatdane - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:45 PM

      Seriously. It’s just bad form. Always has been.

  2. redwings248 - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    I like it, go tigers

  3. jgreiner9 - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    Say goodbye to Sherzer after the season. It could be tough to pay Price what he wants as well. Especially with all the money owed to Verlander and the Cabrera contract that hasn’t kicked in yet. It’s going to be tough.

    • xjokerz - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:34 PM

      Price is signed for another year after this one.

    • geejon - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:45 PM

      Can’t see why Tampa went ahead with this deal considering they had another year of Price. They could have gotten this weak return this winter. What was the rush? All I kept hearing about was how smart the T.B. guys are and how they always come out ahead in deals. So much for that.

      • dan1111 - Aug 1, 2014 at 3:07 AM

        They got one of the Tigers’ best prospects, as well two useful major league players they control for a total of 11 seasons, in exchange for 1 1/2 seasons of Price.

        I don’t think it is a weak return.

      • mackie66 - Aug 1, 2014 at 7:37 AM

        Its a good trade period. Price, well loved in Tampa, was arbitration eligible this yr and could have command 22 mill next yr which the Rays won’t do. I like the two serviceable players, but I think the main person in this trade is the 18 yr old SS with lots of pop in his bat, plus flashing leather. The Rays need an everyday SS that will be in the line-up for years to come. Detroit gave this kid 450k to sign which is rather high for an 18 yr old prospect.

  4. xjokerz - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    Twalton95- I just told my buddy that i thought the RedSox RAPED the Cards for Allen Craig AND Joe Kelly….

    Good deal for the Sox.

    • historiophiliac - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:35 PM

      You make being a Tigers fan not fun. It’s a shame you don’t know how to be appropriate in a forum.

  5. strikers99 - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    I think the Rays could of got more especially since he was still under contract for next year

    • xjokerz - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:41 PM

      didnt the Rays get…

      Drew Smyly
      Tijuan Walker
      Nick Franklin ??

      seems legit to me.

      • thegoods24 - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:45 PM

        Not Walker. Just Smyly and Franklin

      • Paper Lions - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:52 PM

        No Walker.

      • sabatimus - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:57 PM

        Wait, paperlions =/= Paper Lions?

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:06 PM

        Smyly, Franklin, Willy Adames, an A-level SS who is far away from MLB play.

      • Paper Lions - Jul 31, 2014 at 8:06 PM

        It’s still me. A complaint was lodged that there were no caps or spaces…so I changed the “display name”.

  6. tom b - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    Who pays? Ray’s fans. Ripped their heart right out of them. team was seriously looking good with three power pitchers the envy of baseball. This is truly one of the nastier aspects of free agency.

    • spursareold - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:54 PM

      Rays will never be able to play the $$ game until they can get out of Tropicana field. They’ll have to keep playing the develop and flip game with their prospect and young players.

      • alongthegulf - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:38 PM

        You’re correct, the Trop is pure crap as far as baseball stadium goes. The Rays have to get out, but somebody needs a plan to get them out! Trading good players for ‘prospects’ is getting really old. You can’t build a good fan base by constantly trading away your good, established players for unknowns! It’s a stop gap plan at best, and it seems it will never end. It groundhog day every year for Rays fans. There is no end in sight!

  7. raysfan1 - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    Okay, I was wrong. Price did get moved at the deadline. The deal did point up one thing I was saying about the earlier rumors though–that to interest the Rays the return would need to be pitching and infielders, not outfield prospects like Tavares.

    • Paper Lions - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:02 PM

      As a Rays fan, are you happy with that return? A mid-rotation starter, a 2B who hasn’t hit in the majors, and an A-ball SS….seems really underwhelming. I’m underwhelmed.

      • alongthegulf - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:25 PM

        As a Rays fan, I’m pissed and highly disappointed!

      • raysfan1 - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:57 PM

        I’m not as pissed as alongthegulf, but this is the sort if deal I expected come December. I am disappointed therefore because I believe they could have kept Price the remainder of the season and then pulled a similar haul. I’m also disappointed because it does seem like the white flag has been prematurely waived on 2014.

        Hope Matt Moore comes back 100% next season.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:09 PM

      Yeah, given the rumors about what Friedman wanted, that sounds like a disappointing haul. You can claim all you want that you didn’t “Need” Taveras, but you’d taken a deal with him and other stuff over this, wouldn’t you?

      • geejon - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:56 PM

        @SocraticGadfly … of course they would have. But the Cards never offered Tavares and the Dodgers never offered Pederson. If this was the best offer you’d think they’d have waited til the offseason.

        I’d put money that the Dodgers come away this offseason with either Lester or Scherzer. Beckett’s $17million and Haren’s $10 million coming off the books. Payroll won’t budge and they’ll add another ace. Mark it down.

      • raysfan1 - Jul 31, 2014 at 6:05 PM

        I tried always to try to think in terms of what the Rays would do, not necessarily what I would do if I were GM–except the one post where I stated I’d try to get multiple pitching prospects out if the Cards.

        I would rather have seen Price in Cardinals red. I feel the deal they got was roughly equal to what the Cards may have offered with Taveras, but the Rays might have then been able to send one of our outfielders somewhere for an infield prospect or two and thus overall done a bit better. If they had offered Craig and not Taveras, I wouldn’t have taken that deal.

    • indaburg - Jul 31, 2014 at 6:36 PM

      I agree with raysfan1. As a Rays fan, I’m disappointed because I think we gave up on 2014 too soon. This is the same thing we could have gotten in the off-season.

  8. drewzducks - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:56 PM

    Unmatched rotation. Just better hope for complete games because last I looked, Joe Nathan is still the Tigers’ “closer”.

  9. sdelmonte - Jul 31, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    The arms race is on. And while we all know that Tigers-A’s is far from certain…that would be some matchup of pitchers.

    • historiophiliac - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:45 PM

      Fascism in the post-season.

  10. ironcurtin64 - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    As an M’s fan I like the trade a lot. Jackson has been slightly underperforming this year but is above average across the board and he’s a fantastic centerfielder. Very surprised the Rays made this move. Their front office is usually very savy.

    • xjokerz - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:05 PM

      you got Jackson for Franklin…. FREE UPGRADE.

      • ironcurtin64 - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:36 PM

        …and I ain’t complaining.

  11. jgreiner9 - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    It feels like the rays got fleeced something serious.

  12. alongthegulf - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    I know the Rays are a small market team, that plays in the worst stadium in all of baseball, but how many times are the Rays fans told we have to trade away our best players to just survive! It doesn’t help that players like David Price and others actually want to stay and build the Rays into a powerhouse. If that’s Stu Steinberg mindset going unto to every year, this team stands no chance for long term improvement. You can’t improve your team long term if you’re are trading away your best players for prospects. Clearly Stu, the St. Pete city fathers, and Pinellas County need a concrete plan to build a new, better stadium. If not, it time to consider Tampa downtown/port district. Rays fans deserve better than what we get!!!

    • raysfan1 - Jul 31, 2014 at 9:21 PM

      Some of what the Rays FO is doing is to try to create the political pressure to get a new stadium, including manipulating attendance. Some is subtle, like only counting fans who show up in the attendance figures instead of using tickets sold like other teams do. Some is not, like scheduling 7 of their home games as day games during the work week thus guaranteeing poor attendance on those dates.

  13. davidpom50 - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    “And, if our dreams come true, could face one another in the ALCS, with David Price, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez going up against Jon Lester, Sonny Gray, Jeff Samardzija and Scott Kazmir. Oh, and Rick Porcello and Jason Hammel and two terrifying offenses are hanging around too.”

    And the winner of that matchup might face Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Josh Beckett in the World Series, plus the best offense the National League has to offer (at least by wRC+ and offensive runs above replacement).

    The playoffs are shaping up to be AWESOME this year!

  14. laxer37 - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:42 PM

    snowman69bobbysmela needs to put the crack pipe down.

  15. sportsdad61 - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:47 PM

    Give it some time David. You will be a Brave soon enough. Hope you don’t get shot in that hot bed for violent crime.

  16. Tick - Jul 31, 2014 at 5:47 PM

    So, the Rays play hardball on trading Price up until the deadline is about to expire and then they panic and give him away? I don’t see any other way to spin this. Every other big name pitcher that got moved brought in a better return while being less of a talent than Price. Not that the other pitchers aren’t great, but they’re not Price.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 31, 2014 at 10:15 PM

      Righto. Every big sports network/website is reporting this as a mix of “Huh” / “trade deadline losers.”

      I mean, I appreciate the ardor of Rays fans, but, when you’re thinking Adames, down in Single-A, will be the next Zobrist in 2 years, it’s time to take off the rose-colored glasses and put down the kool-aid.

  17. pwshrugged - Jul 31, 2014 at 8:24 PM

    While this gives the Tigers a dominant starting rotation… they had that already. And on top of that. Smyly looks like the kind of reliable, affordable mid-rotation lefty every lineup wants if their ace(s) are righties.

    Say what you want about him, Austin Jackson was the only CF MLB-ready. Who’s there now? Some sort of combination of a minor leaguer, Rajai Davis, and Don Kelly? That’s a downgrade, no matter what. But, to be fair, I’ve been predicting a Jackson trade for awhile – he doesn’t fit the mold of the team that Ausmus has in mind, which is why he’s been all over the order. But I thought they’d hold onto him due to their lack of options.

    How have the Tigers not learned that a champion is built through top-to-bottom depth, not overpowering one or two positions? Their starting pitching was lights out last year, to the point that this year’s is unlikely to reproduce the same results, but they still lost. They lost because of lack of depth. And today, we have a Tigers team that will trot out minor leaguers/replacement level players at CF and SS, and a bullpen that’s still questionable. But never fear! The starting rotation is, again, going to be indomitable.

    Maybe it works out, though. I sure hope so.

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