Detroit Tigers: Analyzing the David Price deal

Dave Dombrowski has done it again. The Detroit Tigers president and general manager has pulled off another blockbuster trade in order to position his team for a shot at a World Series title.

Just before the 4 p.m. trade deadline on Thursday, the Tigers announced that they have acquired starting pitcher David Price from the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-team deal.

Detroit TigersDetroit parted ways with pitcher Drew Smyly, center fielder Austin Jackson and shortstop Willy Adames in order to receive the 2012 Cy Young winner.

Smyly and Adames will now reside in Tampa Bay while Austin Jackson is shipped out to the Seattle Mariners.

Despite landing the best player on the market, some Tigers fans still are not convinced that this deal was in the team’s best interests.

Really?

I understand that the bullpen issues could have been further addressed or that the Tigers could use a left-handed bat in the lineup, but another average reliever or hitter would not turn the bullpen or lineup into the greatest in the league; landing Price does exactly that with the starting rotation.

Price’s 11-8 record and 3.11 ERA on the season aren’t exactly Cy-Young caliber but he has arguably been the American League’s best pitcher in the month of July.

In six starts Price posted a 5-1 record with a 1.74 ERA, striking out 45 batters in 46.2 innings of work.

His career record from August to October is 24-12, with an ERA of 2.88

Although losing Jackson downgrades the defensive capabilities in the outfield, it won’t be as drastic as many believe.

Ezequiel Carrera, who’s hit .307 in Triple-A Toledo this season, is a natural center fielder who will get a chance to prove he has what it takes to play at the major league level. If Carrera is unable to preform at the plate, Rajai Davis and Don Kelly are both fully capable of patrolling center field.

Not only does this trade directly improve the Tigers’ rotation on the surface, but it could also improve the staff by putting pressure on Justin Verlander to elevate his game.

If the playoffs were to begin today, there’s absolutely no reason why Verlander should be one of the four pitchers in the playoff rotation. Sure, we witnessed JV follow up his mediocre 2013 campaign with three dominating starts in the postseason, but that doesn’t constitute a good enough reason to include him in this year’s rotation if he continues to struggle.

But the playoffs don’t start today, the calendar just flipped to the month of August and the Tigers’ lead in the AL Central is just four games over the Kansas City Royals.

Detroit needs to win the division crown before thinking about the postseason. The good news is that they will be in control of their own destiny as they play divisional opponents in 27 of their final 30 games.

When facing AL Central teams not named the Tigers, Price has a 14-8 record with a 2.84 ERA over his career.

The bullpen has clearly been the biggest issue for the Tigers in 2014 and they made two big-time trades to improve that area of concern; first by acquiring Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers last week and most recently by making the move for Price.

The Tigers’ bullpen woes have been led by the middle relievers- adding a pitcher who can go deep into games will help eliminate that problem.

At the end of the day, the Tigers got an ace in Price in exchange for a back-end starter in Smyly, an offensively-challenged center fielder in Jackson, and a prospect who won’t sniff the major leagues until at least 2016.

I am not just calling this a great trade, I am willing to take a step further label this as a steal.

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Comments

  1. Chris says

    Both Torii and Austin have not played the “best” defense this year, so all we really need is someone who can play defensively adequately, but can contribute regularly to our offense!!!

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