Rays Trade David Price
When David Price was finally traded, it was to an unexpected bidder.
The Detroit Tigers added another Cy Young Award winner to their star-studded rotation, acquiring Price from Tampa Bay in a blockbuster deal Thursday. The Rays received left-hander Drew Smyly and minor league infielder Willy Adames from the Tigers. Tampa Bay also got infielder Nick Franklin from Seattle, with Detroit outfielder Austin Jackson going to the Mariners.
Rays manager Joe Maddon: "No fun losing a David Price. Hate it. But we have to do what is best for our group. Continue to move it forward and that's what we've done."
The AL Central-leading Tigers are trying for their fourth consecutive division title, and their starting rotation was already a strength. General manager Dave Dombrowski decided to trade for Price anyway, giving Detroit a collection of stars on the mound that could be tough to match in any postseason series.
"The question that we asked ourselves is: What gives us the best chance of winning the world championship this year?" Dombrowski said. "We thought adding him to our rotation at this point would give us the best chance to do that."
Price joins Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander in the Detroit rotation, giving the Tigers the last three American League Cy Young winners.
The Tigers are the first team with three pitchers on the staff who have all won Cy Young Awards over the previous three seasons, according to STATS.
"Today it's great, it's nice, it's fine. I love to have David Price," Dombrowski said. "If we win, then I'll be very satisfied."
Price's departure became a clear possibility when the Rays fell way behind in the AL East race earlier this season. Tampa Bay has played much better over the last month and entered Thursday only 5 1/2 games behind a wild card — but the Rays decided to deal their ace anyway.
"Compared to the other possibilities, it was by far the most prudent thing that we could do for the best interests of the franchise," said Andrew Friedman, Tampa Bay's vice president of baseball operations. "If you look ahead to next year, it would have been really challenging to be as good as we want to be within our situation, with David taking up that meaningful of a percentage of our payroll. So everything we do is in the vein of how to be competitive in the near term and also the long term."
Tweeted Rays manager Joe Maddon: "No fun losing a David Price. Hate it. But we have to do what is best for our group. Continue to move it forward and that's what we've done."
Tampa Bay signed Price to a $14 million deal for this season, avoiding arbitration, but he isn't eligible for free agency until after next season.
"It's not waving a white flag at all," Rays president Matt Silverman said. "If your team plays to the level that it can, especially considering all the head-to-head games we have within our division, we have a chance to make up the deficit and get into the playoffs. It's more difficult without David, but if the rest of the team plays up to their potential, we're going to be playing meaningful games in September."