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David Price, best trade deadline acquisition?

The pitchers traded at the deadline are faring better than the hitters, and David Price may be the best one yet

David Price pitches against the San Francisco Giants at Comerica Park on September 6, 2014
David Price pitches against the San Francisco Giants at Comerica Park on September 6, 2014
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers visit the Twins this week, while the Royals host the White Sox. Fortunately Chris Sale is scheduled to pitch on Wednesday. The Tigers have David Price lined up, originally set to face TBD (As of Tuesday, the Twins have settled on Kyle Gibson). This time of year, TBD is frequently scheduled to pitch. The Royals, with Danny Duffy hurting, plan to start TBD on Tuesday.

The playoff contenders did not want to be in the TBD boat, so many acquired pitching. Last week we looked at the hitters traded at the deadline, and found most were under-performing. Let's see if the pitchers are faring better.

The Royals acquired Liam Hendriks from the Blue Jays. With 28 career starts, Hendriks had never won more than one game in a season. He had his one win for this year with Toronto, and has kept pace with two losses in three games for Kansas City. Let's hope that Hendriks continues to fill those TBD spots.

The Yankees tried to fill a rotation hole with Chris Capuano. Boston used him exclusively in relief this year. The Yankees thought he could start, and in nine starts he has four strikeouts for every walk. But his ERA is 5.13, leading to one win and two losses.

Boston traded another pitcher, John Lackey, to the Cardinals.  Lackey is underwhelming with an ERA of 5.05, matching a FIP of 4.91 and WHIP of 1.49. Of course, being with St. Louis, he has two wins and two losses in eight starts.

The Cardinals also acquired Justin Masterson from the Indians to help their rotation. Masterson appears to have been unlucky based on an ERA of 7.53 and FIP of 6.02. Instead of being horrible, he has only been really bad. On July 31, the Cardinals were two games out of first place. Now they are 3 ½ games in front. That includes 14 starts by Lackey and Masterson.

However, most trades for starting pitching have worked out well for the playoff contenders. Oakland had won the arms race until Detroit acquired David Price, but Lester has outperformed David Price in August and September with a 2.30 ERA, 3.26 FIP, and 1.07 WHIP. Lester has five wins already, even though Oakland's offense has vanished.

Jake Peavy is pitching even better for San Francisco than he did for Boston down the stretch last year. Peavy earned a win on September 5 against Detroit with six innings and no earned runs. Overall he has a 2.29 ERA, 2.73 FIP, and 1.085 FIP. Recall that the White Sox traded for him in 2009 when it appeared he was washed up in San Diego, and have hope that Justin Verlander will return to his normal self.

If Miami counted as a playoff contender, then Jarred Cosart's seven starts with an ERA of 1.93 and WHIP of 0.99 would look like a steal from Houston.

Tampa Bay is definitely out of contention, so considering Drew Smyly's performance is not necessary. His peripherals are not as impressive as his traditional stats, but either way Tampa Bay expects Smyly to help them contend this year.

Overall, Price has pitched well for Detroit. Had he won his one-hitter against the Rays, there would be little concern. His strikeout rate is near ten per nine innings and above his career average. His walk rate is below two, and below his career average. His home run rate and WHIP are right at his career rates, and his FIP with Detroit of 2.64 was never lower in a season with Tampa Bay. With a couple of dominating starts to end September, the Tigers will have won the trade deadline arms race.