clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

David Price trade impact: Blockbuster deal raises more questions than answers

David Price joins the Detroit Tigers' rotation, but Drew Smyly and Austin Jackson are gone, leaving the roster with more holes than it had prior to the trade.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

David Price is one of the best starting pitchers in the game of baseball, and probably the most valuable player to be traded this summer prior to the trade deadline. There is no question that Price will provide an upgrade to the rotation, as he replaces Drew Smyly. No matter how you slice it, that is an improvement in the rotation through the 2015 season. Who wouldn't want the last three Cy Young winners and the current ERA champion in their rotation?

Scherzer -- Verlander -- Price -- Sanchez -- Porcello -- WOW!

What happens with the rest of the Tigers' roster is open to question. Drew Smyly figured to be moved to the bullpen for the playoffs and resume his spot in the Tiger rotation in 2015, with several years of club control remaining before free agency.  That now leaves the bullpen without Smyly for the post season this year, and the rotation without him in future seasons.

Rick Porcello almost certainly now goes to the bullpen in October. Porcello has struggled against left-handed batters in the past, but has seemingly solved that issue this season.

It seems to be a foregone conclusion that Max Scherzer would be taking his talents to the free agent market with Scott Boras. No doubt the Tigers will try to extend Price, but they have at least another year with a starting pitcher of comparable value, but the organization does not have a suitable replacement for Scherzer, or Smyly, in the rotation within the organization.

The biggest question, and the biggest hole created by this trade, will be in the outfield, where the Tigers now do not have a bona fide major league center fielder. Rajai Davis is not a good outfielder and does not hit right handed pitching very well. Davis has hit just .255    .297    .351    .648 against right handers in his career, and .251    .299    .335    .634 in 2014.

Andy Dirks would be the best choice to play center field, if he were healthy. Dirks is set to resume his rehab assignment on Friday, and his return date has yet to be determined. Dirks and Davis could form a platoon in center field, but that doesn't seem to be a viable solution in the long term. In the short term, the Tigers need a center fielder. Ezequiel Carrera could be called up from the minors, where he is hitting .307    .387    .422    .809.

Trading Jackson makes some sense, to the extent that he is a Scott Boras client, which means that he will almost certainly be testing the free agent market after the 2015 season.

The Tigers also give up young shortstop, Wily Adames, who was turning heads at low- A West Michigan, and was making his way into prospect and trade discussions. Adames was batting .269    .346    .428 .744 for the Whitecaps, but the Tigers lately find themselves very deep on the middle infield prospect depth chart.