The Detroit Tigers have traded David Price to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for a package deal that includes highly touted Triple-A pitching prospect Daniel Norris, according to multiple reports, first reported by CBS' Jon Heyman. The addition of Norris will help the Tigers' goal of rebooting in the short- and long-term.
Norris is a pitcher that the Tigers can potentially insert into the starting rotation now. Outfielder prospect Anthony Alford had been discussed, but reports said that he was not included in the deal. Instead, Single-A, 21-year-old lefty prospect Jairo Labourt and 24-year-old left-hander Matt Boyd will be coming over in the deal, per reports.
Price put together the best season of his career in 2015 during his tenure with Detroit, compiling a 2.53 ERA (a career-best) in 146 innings pitched, averaging 8.5 strikeouts per nine and walking just 1.8 batters on average. Price has been the lone constant on team whose rotation has struggled with inconsistency all year, remaining ace-like regardless of the team's record.
Coming into the 2015 season it appeared that most of the Tigers' questions had been answered. Even the bullpen appeared to be stable for the most part. If anything, the starting rotation was of greater concern. Until May, the Tigers met expectations, were 11-2 to start, and had a 15-8 record in April. Then reality hit.
Marred by injuries by Justin Verlander, Alex Avila, Bruce Rondon, Victor Martinez, and the loss of Joe Nathan for the year as a result of a second Tommy John surgery, the obvious happened. And it didn't help that Kyle Lobstein also landed on the DL after experiencing left shoulder soreness.
For most of the season the team has been compensating with Triple-A level or below players at some point with every part of the team. Be it the rotation, the bullpen, or the lineup. When one player came back, another succumbed to injury or a pitcher fell into a rut so bad -- Shane Greene and Angel Nesbitt -- the player had to be sent to the minors to regain stability.
The bullpen started with a dominant Joakim Soria and about a half a dozen dependable arms. Now, even Soria has struggled at times and the only dependable arms to be found are Blaine Hardy, Alex Wilson -- a throw-in from the Yoenis Cespedes trade -- and maybe Al Alburquerque if he keeps it in the ballpark.
As for the lineup, that's suffered the least damage, surprisingly. That's not to say it's been awful at times, and the loss of Miguel Cabrera for six weeks for a Grade 3 calf strain didn't help, but compared to the rest of the team things could be worse. The team went through a stretch when it couldn't score runs but after a team meeting in New York the lineup started hitting again.
Of late, though, the offense has hit another dry spot. The bigger problem is, of course, that the pitching can't keep the opposing team off the board. Justin Verlander is looking like his pre-injury self again and Anibal Sanchez has stabilized for the most part, but that's only two pieces of a five-piece rotation, and now the Tigers don't have Price. Expect runs to continue unless the team gets a stop gap in return.