By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) – The formidable starting rotation of the Detroit Tigers just got better.
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski, known as one of the best in the business, made a deal at the deadline to bring Tampa Bay Rays starter David Price to Detroit.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports first reported the Tigers had landed Price, and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted that the Tigers gave up starting pitcher Drew Smyly and center fielder Austin Jackson as part of a three-way deal with Tampa Bay and Seattle.
Smyly is headed for the Rays, according to Heyman, and Jackson will play for the Mariners. The deal also includes the move of Seattle second baseman Nick Franklin to Tampa Bay.
Jon Morosi of Fox Sports confirmed those reports and summarized the deal with a tweet that reads, “Four-player deal confirmed: David Price to Tigers, Austin Jackson to Mariners, Nick Franklin and Drew Smyly to Rays. No other prospects.”
Rosenthal, however, reports that the Rays also get minor league shortstop Willy Adames from the Tigers.
The 28-year-old Price has a 3.11 ERA over 23 starts this season. Two years ago Price won the Cy Young and recorded an ERA of 2.56. He has been one of the most hotly pursued players at this deadline.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that the Mariners, Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees also engaged in discussions about Price.
Smyly, who started Thursday’s game for the Tigers, had already been relieved when news of the trade broke, but Jackson was in the outfield, so he was called out of the game. He left amid hugs from teammates and an ovation from the crowd, which recognized that Jackson had been traded.
There had been rampant speculation that the Rays would move Price, a free agent after 2015, because he will command a high price that the Rays will be unable or unwilling to pay. The Tigers, known for their spending, would have a better chance of holding onto him.
A World Series favorite again this season, the Tigers likely also brought in Price because they can see their proverbial window closing, with stars Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander aging and fellow All-Stars Max Scherzer and Victor Martinez entering free agency after this season.
All teams talk about a “win now” approach. The Tigers, once again, are walking the talk.