MLB Trade Deadline: Tigers Up The Ante By Landing Price, But Did Rays Get Enough?
The Tigers on Thursday "took a bold, stunning step, basically pushing all their chips to the center of the table" by making a three-team deal to acquire Rays P David Price, "one of the best pitchers in baseball," according to Jeff Seidel of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. The Rays acquired P Drew Smyly and minor league SS Willy Adames from the Tigers, and also received 2B Nick Franklin from the Mariners; Tigers CF Austin Jackson went to the Mariners. There are "still legitimate, lingering questions about the Tigers' bullpen," but team President, CEO & GM Dave Dombrowski is "betting that starting pitching is more valuable than anything else in the playoffs." Tigers Owner Mike Ilitch "obviously ... is all in for this season, too" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 8/1). In Detroit, Bob Wojnowski writes the Tigers are "willing to sacrifice almost anything to achieve their goal as quickly as possible." Dombrowski following the trade said that it was "difficult to deal good major-leaguers." But Wojnowski notes with the Tigers "in the midst of a nearly decade-long hunt for a world championship, everyone knows the stakes and the urgency" (DETROIT NEWS, 8/1). Also in Detroit, Lynn Henning writes, "It was a big trade. It might have been a good trade. But it has little chance of being a great trade." The Tigers "paid retail for a roster piece they are praying puts them over the top." But "you wonder if even Price ... is enough to put a flawed team into the World Series and across the finish line" (DETROIT NEWS, 8/1).
WAS THE PRICE RIGHT? Rays Exec VP/Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman on Thursday said that it "would have been easier not to deal Price." Friedman: "This certainly wasn't a pre-wired decision, but we felt like if something lined up that made sense for this organization, we had to do it. We felt like we had a responsibility to our fans, to this community to do what we can, to be as good as we can for as long as we can." He added, "It's really important for us to have one eye on the present and one eye on the future, because if not, you fall off the cliff. Falling off the cliff means five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 years of rebuilding. For us to be able to sustain success over the long term, these are decisions we have to make." Rays manager Joe Maddon: "On the surface, I'm sure the fans are going to be upset -- go ahead and be upset -- I don't blame them. That's what fans are supposed to do. But within the Tampa Bay Rays, we have to do what we think is best for our group and continue to move forward. I have total trust and respect for our players and ownership" (MLB.com, 7/31). However, in Florida, John Torres writes this is the "kind of move that can derail a club for a decade," and the Rays are "not a franchise that can withstand a decade of empty stadiums and irrelevancy." Torres: "Nothing personal against Nick Franklin and Drew Smyly, but that is a paltry return for a legitimate ace pitcher" (FLORIDA TODAY, 8/1). SPORTS ON EARTH's Jonathan Bernhardt wrote, "What in the world were Andrew Friedman and the Tampa Bay Rays thinking?" This is "essentially just a punt for the Rays," and it is "very difficult to see the logic behind any argument otherwise" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 7/31). USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale writes MLB execs were "absolutely stunned the Rays didn't receive more for Price." Nightengale: "You wonder why nobody bothers to come to Rays games? Who wants to support a team only to eventually see their favorite players dealt away?" (USA TODAY, 8/1).
THAT'S A FACT, JACK: In Seattle, Larry Stone writes despite the "likelihood his job is dependent on the Mariners' future," Exec VP & GM of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik did not make a "reckless trade to increase his short-term chances." Zduriencik "warrants criticism for the gaping holes that still exist in the lineup, but if he does go down, it appears, he’s going to go down with his guys and his plan" (SEATTLE TIMES, 8/1).