Detroit waited until 3:51 EST to make it official before the 4 p.m. trade deadline on July 31. The Tigers traded left-handed pitcher Drew Smyly and outfielder Austin Jackson as a part of the three-team deal with the Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners that sent Smyly to Tampa and Jackson to Seattle.By receiving Price, Detroit not only receives one of the top three left-handed pitchers in the game, but they have solidified their rotation as the best and deepest in baseball.
Price is masterful at mixing in his five different pitches at anytime for a strike. He likes to throw a hard fastball, combined with a sinker and cutter to get ahead, but then will drop his curveball or circle change for the swing and miss when he needs a strikeout.
This season, Price is 11-8 with a 3.11 ERA and a league-leading 189 strikeouts — which is just 16 less than his entire Cy Young winning season in 2012. While his strikeouts are up, his walks are down and his 1.14 career WHIP is down to a dominant 1.05 this season.
While these numbers are impressive, they still do not tell the full story behind Price. Since May 24, Price has gone seven or more innings in each of his last 13 starts. In those starts, he only gave up more than three runs one time and never walked more than three hitters. Over that same span, he has had six games of 10 or more strikeouts and thrown over 110 pitches in each of those starts.
Point being, Price is a horse. No, not just a horse, Secretariat.
With Detroit still struggling to piece together its ailing bullpen, every extra inning that the starters can last in a game is a blessing. There is no one better in the league at going deep into games than Price.
There are no longer any questions at this point for the Tigers. Not only do they boast the best lineup in baseball, but they now unquestionably have the best rotation in the game.
In 2011, an ALCS loss showed progress from not making the playoffs the four previous seasons. In 2012, a loss in the World Series was as close as a team can get, and it felt as if the Tigers were ready to break down the doors in 2013. 2013 came and went, and one demoralizing grand slam off the bat of David Ortiz later, Detroit was sent home again as one of the final four teams left in the playoffs.
But not this time around says general manager Dave Dombrowski. On July 24, the team added Joakim Soria in hopes he would serve as a band-aid to the current hemorrhage that is the Detroit Tigers bullpen.
One week later, Dombrowski goes out and gets the biggest name on the trade market in Price.
The message sent by Detroit and Dombrowski to the rest of the league was loud and clear: World. Series. Or. Bust.
Tony Garcia is the host of Tiger Talk for Impact Sports.