DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers have added another Cy Young Award winner to their star-studded rotation, acquiring Tampa Bay’s David Price in a blockbuster deal Thursday.
The Rays received left-hander Drew Smyly and minor league infielder Willy Adames from the Tigers. Tampa Bay also got infielder Nick Franklin from Seattle, with Detroit outfielder Austin Jackson going to the Mariners.
Jackson was removed from Detroit’s game against the Chicago White Sox with one out in the top of the seventh inning. As he jogged in from center field, he got a nice hand from the home fans, many of whom no doubt understood the significance of the substitution moments before the trade deadline.
The trade joins Price with Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander in the rotation for the AL Central-leading Tigers, giving Detroit the last three American League Cy Young winners.
Price’s departure became a clear possibility when the Rays fell way behind in the AL East race earlier this season.
Tampa Bay has played much better over the last month and entered Thursday only 5 1/2 games behind a wild card — but the Rays decided to deal their ace anyway.
Tampa Bay signed Price to a $14 million deal for this season, avoiding arbitration, but he isn’t eligible for free agency until after next season. That means Detroit’s rotation — which also includes Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello — should be impressive in 2015 even if Scherzer leaves via free agency this offseason.
The Tigers have won three straight division titles, but they’re still without a World Series championship since 1984. Last season’s team lost to Boston in the AL championship series.
With a lineup anchored by Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Ian Kinsler — and that remarkable rotation — Detroit has remained in first place for almost all of 2014. The Tigers tried to shore up one trouble spot — the bullpen — by trading for Joakim Soria last week.
Now Detroit has emerged with Price in another bold move aimed at bringing a championship to the Motor City.