‘Rays’-ing the Price: Southpaw Shipped to Detroit in Three-Team Deal

Before talk arose of Boston starting pitcher Jon Lester hitting the trading block, the big name up for grabs was Tampa Bay Rays starter David Price. Both men were sent packing Thursday, with Price headed to the Detroit in a three-team trade.

In the deal, the Tigers obtained Price from Tampa Bay, the Rays acquired pitcher Drew Smyly and infield prospect Willy Adames from Detroit, and shortstop Nick Franklin from Seattle, and the Mariners received outfielder Austin Jackson from Detroit.

David Price moves from a sub-.500 team to a playoff favorite.

David Price makes the move from a fourth place team to first place, joining the AL Central-leading Tigers.

Price, 28, joins a talented arsenal of starters in Detroit that includes Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, giving the Tigers one of the best starting rotations in all of baseball. The 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner, Price started 23 games for the Rays this season, compiling a record of 11-8 with a 3.11 ERA, and currently leads the AL in strikeouts with 189 in 170 2/3 innings.

After being drafted out of Vanderbilt Univeristy as the first overall pick in the 2007 draft, Price quickly ascended to the majors, joining the Rays rotation permanently in 2009. In seven seasons with the team, he was 82-47 with a 3.18 ERA, and collected 1,065 strikeouts.

In Price, the Tigers added a big name, but it took giving up two talented players off their roster to get him.

Outfielder Austin Jackson, who was playing center field for the Tigers in their game against the White Sox when the trade occurred, was replaced by Rajai Davis in the top of the seventh inning.

Jackson, 27, shifts from Detroit to Seattle, and gives the Mariners a top of the lineup bat that they had been searching for. A talented fielder with speed and sufficient power, Jackson was hitting .270 for the Tigers with 4 home runs, 32 RBIs, and 34 extra-base hits in 99 games. He singled twice in four at-bats Thursday and collected an RBI, before being relieved exiting the game.

The Rays trio of pickups- Smyly, Franklin, and Adames- are the return from unloading Price.

Smyly, 25, rejoined the Tigers rotation in 2014, after pitching 63 games out of the bullpen last season. In 17 starts, and 20 games overall, Smyly’s record stands at 6-9 with a 3.77 ERA. In 2013, through those 63 appearances, Smyly attained a 6-0 record, and struck out 81 batters in 76 innings. He will become arbitration-eligible beginning this offseason.

Franklin, 23, had played most of the 2014 season in Triple-A for the Tacoma Rainiers. In 75 games he was hitting .294 with 9 homers and 47 RBIs before being called up to the Mariners. In the majors this season, Franklin has appeared in 17 games, and is hitting just .128 with 2 RBIs, striking out 21 times in 47 registered at-bats.

Adames, 18, who was signed by the Tigers out of the Dominican Republic in 2012, had been playing at Single-A West Michigan this season. In 99 games, the young shortstop was hitting .269 with 6 home runs and 50 RBIs. Adames was the fifth-rated prospect in the Tigers system at mid-season.