Today marks the end of the 2014 waiver-free trade period and as the final hours wound down we saw several major leaguers move to new teams. In what might be perceived as the biggest trade of the day, the Detroit Tigers acquired David Price from Tampa Bay as part of a three-way deal that sends Tiger centerfielder Austin Jackson to Seattle, Tiger pitcher Drew Smyly and prospect Willy Adames to Tampa and Seattle's Nick Franklin to Tampa.
I think there are two ways to look at Price coming to Detroit. While most consider Detroit's starting rotation one of the best in baseball, it hasn't performed well, and up until now the Oakland A's had made all the major pitching aquisitions in a clear attempt of overcoming their Tiger hump in the playoffs. Detroit had to answer Oakland.
Second, Price provides Detroit with leverage and protection for their upcoming negotiations with Max Scherzer, who will become a free agent at the end of the year. The Tigers were unable to sign Scherzer before this season began and he may be wanting more money than the Tigers are willing to pay. If Scherzer leaves they will still be able to secure Price for at least one more season.
Price may be the best pitcher in the American League right now, so most will say he is worth getting at almost any price. The Tigers are giving up what has been one of their hottest bats in the lineup the last month with Jackson moving on, and the Tigers lineup has had extended slumps this season, so the last thing they needed was losing a bat. On the other hand, Rajai Davis will get more playing time and his speed adds another dimension to the lineup.
What the Tigers so far have not done is add another left handed bat. It appears that the Tigers are banking on Andy Dirks coming back from his back injury by the end of the year to possibly add some balance and they sorely need Alex Avila to pick it up at the plate.
Tiger fans have to be thrilled at seeing management go out again and get a big name player late in the season. However, there is also a little trepidation because there seems to be a bit of bad luck for pitchers after joining the Tigers.
Most thought Dave Dombrowski succeeded at shoring up the bullpen buy aquiring Joe Nathan, who at the time was considered the best closer available. Nathan has been far below expectations this season.
A few weeks ago Dombrowski also aquired Joakim Soria from the Rangers to further improve the bullepen, and most thought that too was a good trade but Soria has been bombed in each of his Tiger outings.
Two months remain for Nathan and Soria and left handers Phil Coke and Ian Krol to improve before they are really needed in the playoffs. Relief pitching cost the Tigers a trip to the World Series last year, and this year's bullpen is shaping up to be the same despite the Tiger's best efforts. Dombrowski has done all that he can to help the Tigers succeed in the playoffs, now it is on the players to perform.