As the MLB trade deadline grew nearer, Tampa Bay pulled the trigger on a deal to send pitcher David Price to Detroit in a three-team trade that reportedly has pitcher Drew Smyly and infielder Nick Franklin headed to the Rays.
Tampa Bay confirmed the trade about 90 minutes after the 4 p.m deadline. (See below for team statement).
The third player in the trade is coveted Detroit minor-league shortstop Willy Adames. He's only 18 and in Single-A ball but was considered one of the top Tigers prospects.
Seattle is the other team involved gathered outfielder Austin Jackson, essentially getting Jackson for Franklin.
The club's ace was rumored to be on the trading block since last fall, but Rays GM Andrew Friedman had yet to find suitable compensation - until today.
Smyly is a 25-year-old lefty who made his debut with the Tigers in 2012, starting 18 games with a 4-3 record and 3.99 ERA. He then pitched out of the bullpen last season making 63 appearances, posting a 6-0 record with a 2.37 ERA.
Back as a start this season Smyly has been less effective (6-9, 3.77 with 87 strikeouts in 100 innings).
Franklin is a player the Rays have long coveted. But he is just a .214 batter in two seasons.
Earlier Thursday, Boston traded away two pitchers in their starting rotation - Jon Lester and John Lackey - which reportedly heated up the trade talks for Price.
Since being called up to the majors in 2008, Price has a 82-47 record with a 3.18 ERA. The Vanderbilt graduate is a four-time All Star and won the AL Cy Young Award in 2012.
The release from the team is below:
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— The Tampa Bay Rays have completed a three-team trade with the Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners, sending left-handed pitcher David Price to Detroit. The Rays acquire left-handed pitcher Drew Smyly and minor league shortstop Willy Adames from Detroit, and infielder Nick Franklin from Seattle. In addition, Seattle acquires outfielder Austin Jackson from Detroit.
"David has been an important part of the Rays franchise and the winning tradition we have established during his Rays career. I can’t thank him enough for his contributions to the organization these past eight years, and we will clearly miss him," said Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg. "These are difficult decisions we are forced to confront. Our fans have come to understand that reality, just as our organization has learned to operate with the challenges posed by the economic model and the growing disparity in our sport."
Price, 28, is 11-8 with a 3.11 ERA (170.2-IP, 59-ER) over 23 starts in 2014, and currently leads the major leagues in innings pitched and strikeouts (189). He is a four-time American League All-Star (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014), tied with Carl Crawford for most in Rays history and most by any pitcher. He ranks second in club history behind James Shields in wins (82), games started (170), innings pitched (1,143.2), strikeouts (1,065) and complete games (10). In 2012, Price was selected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America as the AL Cy Young Award winner, the first in Rays history to earn the honor, after posting a 20-5 record and a 2.56 ERA.
Price was part of all four of the Rays postseason teams, first as a rookie in 2008 when he closed out Game 7 of the American League Championship Series vs. Boston. In 2013, he threw a complete game in the tiebreaker "Game 163" at Texas to send the Rays to the Wild Card Game in Cleveland. Price was the Rays nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award for his sportsmanship and community involvement in both 2012 and 2013. The Rays selected him with the first overall pick of the 2007 June Draft out of Vanderbilt University.
Smyly, 25, will join the major league club and move into the starting rotation. The southpaw owns a career 16-12 record with a 3.46 ERA (275.2-IP, 106-ER) and 262 strikeouts over three seasons with the Tigers. In 2014, he is 6-9 with a 3.77 ERA (100.1-IP, 42-ER) in 20 appearances (17 starts) and 87 strikeouts compared to 31 walks. He’s limited left-handed hitters to a .192 batting average in his career, including a .164 mark this season, seventh-lowest in the AL. This past Saturday he set a career high with 11 strikeouts at Angel Stadium. Smyly pitched in each of the past two postseasons with the Tigers, compiling a 1-0 record and 2.57 ERA over 10 relief appearances (7-IP, 2-ER).
Franklin, 23, will report to Triple-A Durham. The switch-hitter batted .294 (82-for-279) with nine home runs, 47 RBI, a .392 on-base percentage and .455 slugging percentage over 75 games with Triple-A Tacoma this season while appearing in 17 games with the Mariners. In 2013 with Seattle, he ranked among AL rookie leaders with 45 RBI (second), 20 doubles (tied for second), 12 home runs (fourth), 33 extra-base hits (tied for second), 102 games played (fifth), 38 runs scored (seventh), and 83 hits (eighth). Franklin was selected in the first round (27th overall) of the 2009 June Draft out of Lake Brantley High School near Orlando. He was chosen as the Orlando Sentinel Baseball Player of the Year in 2009 after hitting .538 with 11 home runs. He helped lead Lake Brantley to the 2008 Florida State High School title.
Adames, 18, played 98 games this season for Class-A West Michigan this season as the youngest position player in the Midwest League. He hit .269 (95-for-353) this year with six home runs, 14 doubles, 50 RBI, .346 on-base percentage, .428 slugging percentage and an organizational-leading 12 triples. He made his professional debut last season and drew the second-most walks (56) in the Dominican Summer League. Adames was recently ranked the No. 3 prospect in the Tigers system according to MLB.com. He will report to Class-A Bowling Green.
This is the fourth three-team trade in Rays history and the second under Friedman. The last such deal occurred on December 3, 2013, when the Rays dealt right-handed pitcher Justin Choate and a player to be named (outfielder Todd Glaesmann) to the Arizona Diamondbacks and acquired catcher Ryan Hanigan from the Cincinnati Reds and right-handed pitcher Heath Bell from the D-backs.
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