Blue Jays land Price from Tigers in Toronto's second big trade of week
DETROIT — Toronto acquired All-Star left-hander David Price from the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, the second major move in less than a week by the Blue Jays as they chase their first postseason appearance since 1993.
After acquiring slugging shortstop Troy Tulowitzki from Colorado, the Blue Jays tried to shore up their rotation by adding Price, likely the top remaining starting pitcher on the market. Johnny Cueto was traded from Cincinnati to Kansas City, and Cole Hamels is headed from Philadelphia to Texas.
The Blue Jays sent left-handers Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt to the Tigers in the deal. Price can become a free agent after this season.
Toronto has scored more runs than any team in the major leagues but still had a .500 record heading into Thursday night's game against the Royals. The Blue Jays trailed Minnesota by two games for the AL's second wild card and were seven behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees.
Price was traded at the deadline for a second straight year. He went from Tampa Bay to Detroit in a three-team blockbuster last July — one of several bold moves the Tigers have made over the last few seasons while winning four straight AL Central titles.
Although the Tigers were only 3 1/2 games behind a wild-card berth, they were in fourth place in their division entering Thursday's game at Baltimore. This deal was made with an eye toward the future. Detroit could be a contender again in 2016, but the coming days, weeks and months will probably include plenty of changes.
Now it's the Blue Jays who are making the biggest news before this week's trade deadline. Toronto hasn't played in the postseason since Joe Carter's home run won the 1993 World Series against Philadelphia, the longest playoffs drought in the major leagues.
Price is 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA this season. The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner will anchor a Toronto rotation that includes Mark Buehrle and 2012 NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. The Blue Jays may not need stellar pitching down the stretch with a lineup that includes Tulowitzki, Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion, but Price gives them a true ace — which could come in handy if Toronto does end up in the one-game, wild-card playoff.
The Blue Jays will pay the roughly $7 million remaining on Price's $19.75 million salary this season.
Detroit's rotation has faltered badly after being among the game's best in 2013 and 2014. The Tigers lost Max Scherzer to free agency last offseason, and Justin Verlander has made only eight starts this year because of injury problems. Anibal Sanchez has struggled a bit, leaving Price as the only consistently effective starter.
The 22-year-old Norris was ranked by Baseball America as the game's 18th-best prospect earlier this month. He's gone 3-10 with a 4.27 ERA with Triple-A Buffalo this season.
Boyd, 24, split 2015 between Buffalo and Double-A New Hampshire, going 9-2 with a 1.68 ERA.