DETROIT — The Tigers have acquired Tampa Bay ace David Price in a huge trade-deadline deal, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
No details of the deal were immediately announced, but Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson was removed from Thursday afternoon’s game against the White Sox with one out in the top of seventh inning — just five minutes before the trade deadline — drawing a large ovation from the crowd as the fans realized what was happening.
Reports from Rosenthal and FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi have Jackson going to Seattle in a three-way trade, with Drew Smyly and 18-year-old West Michigan infield prospect Willy Adames heading to Tampa Bay.
The deal gives the Tigers the last three American League Cy Young Award winners — Justin Verlander, Price and Max Scherzer — in a stacked rotation that also includes Rick Porcello and Anibal Sanchez.
Price also gives Detroit’s rotation some stability, given the question marks over Scherzer’s future in free agency. The 28-year-old lefty doesn’t become a free agent until after the 2015 season, so Detroit will have him, Verlander, Sanchez and Porcello as a strong nucleus for its rotation should Scherzer sign elsewhere after this season.
Price won 19 games in 2010, finishing second to Felix Hernandez in the Cy Young voting, then won the award with a 20-5 season two years later. In the last five seasons, he has a 72-40 record with a 3.04 ERA and 951 strikeouts in 1001 1/3 innings.
This season, despite a misleading 11-8 record, he leads the American League in innings and strikeouts, and has just a 3.11 ERA.
The biggest question left by the move is what the Tigers will do in the outfield — Rajai Davis will apparently take over center field, making Andy Dirks’ return even more important — and who will fill the left-handed reliever role in a postseason run.
Before the trade, Smyly was expected to move to the bullpen and give Detroit a quality lefty who could pitch extended innings, but the extra starter would now appear to be Porcello, a righty.