I imagined Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski calling up Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane, yelling “the Price is wrong,” putting down the phone and laughing. I would have added the last word of the famous phrase Adam Sandler uttered in “Happy Gilmore,” but decorum prevents me from doing so here.
When the Athletics acquired Jon Lester from the Boston Red Sox earlier in the day, you just knew the Tigers would counter with something. All indications are the Tigers and Athletics are headed for a showdown in the American League Championship Series, and with these pitching staffs it should be something.
The acquisition of Price is a win-win move for the Tigers, but the other teams involved in the deal got something good out of it as well.
The Rays didn’t go away empty-handed. Pitcher Drew Smyly and infielder Wily Adames come to Tampa Bay from Detroit. Smyly isn’t Price, but he will be a solid starter for the Rays at least four more seasons. He doesn’t qualify for free agency until 2018, so Tampa Bay can plan a budget with Smyly in it for some time to come. Adames is a Tigers prospect who was at Class A West Michigan, and he will be a potential super prospect in the future.
The Rays also picked up Nick Franklin from the Mariners in the deal. Franklin had cracked the Seattle lineup off and on, but he didn’t make much of an impact. He’ll get a change of scenery and a chance to impress the Rays.
When Austin Jackson was pulled from the Tigers’ game against the Chicago White Sox today, everyone anticipated Jackson was in on the deal. While people will be sad to see Jackson go, the reality is Rajai Davis can play center full time and this will open a spot up for Andy Dirks in left once he is back from injury rehab. The Mariners also get a decent outfield bat.
The Tigers, meanwhile, get a pitcher who should cushion the blow of Max Scherzer leaving for free agency. In case you didn’t get the meaning behind this deal, Scherzer is finished as a Tiger following the season. Dombrowski can’t keep four stud pitchers on his roster, but he can afford three for the time being. A roster of Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, Price, Rick Porcello and a fifth pitcher next season will still be deadly.
For now, Verlander, Price, Scherzer and Sanchez might be the difference between the Tigers offseason being long and disappointing and the team heading to a World Series.
Dombrowski is cagey. He’s also smart. The idea is to win now.
Your move, American League opponents.