Detroit Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski has again pulled off a stealth blockbuster transaction.
In 2007, with no chatter about it beforehand, he acquired Miguel Cabrera from the Florida Marlins.
Last fall, with no buzz leading up to it, he sent Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for Ian Kinsler.
Moments before Thursday’s trading deadline, in a transaction that was quiet until a few hours earlier, Dombrowski acquired Tampa Bay Rays ace left-hander David Price in a three-way deal that also included the Seattle Mariners.
According to multiple Internet reports, the Tigers sent Drew Smyly and Class-A shortstop prospect Willy Adames to Tampa Bay and Austin Jackson to Seattle. Jackson was pulled from the game in the top of the seventh when the trade was completed moments before the 4 p.m. trading deadline.
Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported the Price-to-Tigers deal first.
The deal gives the Tigers a rotation with the last three A.L. Cy Young winners: Justin Verlander (2011), Price (2012) and Max Scherzer (2013). The other two members of the rotation are Rick Porcello, who’s having his best season, and Anibal Sanchez, the defending A.L. ERA champion.
Scherzer is due to be a free agent after this season and Price after next season. The deal is a sign of how badly the Tigers want to win the World Series this season. It also gives them Price to essentially replace Scherzer next season if Scherzer departs.
Jackson is due to be a free agent after next season, and given that Scott Boras is his agent, history suggests he will become one. Smyly can’t be a free agent until after the 2018 season and, thus, has appeal to the modest-budgeted Rays.
As for who replaces Jackson in center, the Tigers have a roster spot open now with two players departing and only Price arriving. They could promote left-handed hitting Ezequiel Carrera from Toledo to platoon with Rajai Davis, who took over in center when Jackson was pulled from the game.
There’s also Andy Dirks, who returns to his rehab assignment with Class-A West Michigan on Friday.