In the biggest move of the day, the Tampa Bay Rays have traded ace left-hander David Price to the Detroit Tigers, Austin Jackson has been dealt from Detroit to Seattle, and Drew Smyly, Nick Franklin, and Willy Adames to Tampa Bay.
What a move for the Tigers. Dave Dombrowski has probably seen what the Oakland Athletics have been up to the past couple of weeks and knew he needed to make a move, and what a move he has made. Remember a couple of hours ago when the A’s had the best rotation? Now, the Tigers have a rotation of Max Scherzer, David Price, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, and Rick Porcello. That has to be cheating, right? I know Justin Verlander has had a rough go at it as of late, but even if he is an above-average pitcher, this rotation is beyond stacked now. They have three Cy Young winners on their roster now. Unbelievable.
The Mariners got the hitter and center fielder they have been looking for in Austin Jackson. Now, Austin Jackson is no superstar but he will fill a much needed hole in Seattle. Jackson is a slightly below-average defensive outfielder but he can certainly hold his own. His offensive numbers have fallen since 2012, as he stands at .270 with four HR, 32 RBI, 25 doubles, five triples, and nine stolen bases. But still, he is no slouch at the plate and like I mentioned, he is exactly what the Mariners are looking for. In 2012, Jackson hit .300 with 16 HR, 66 RBI, 29 doubles, 10 triples, 103 runs scored, and had a .377 OBP. Who was Jackson’s hitting coach? Lloyd McClendon. Reunited, and it feels so good.
Now, the Tampa Bay Rays. It was reported earlier that the Rays shut down Oakland when they offered a package around Addison Russell. Remember, Addison Russell is one of the elite prospects in baseball right now. So, all the Rays got were infielder Nick Franklin, shortstop prospect Willy Adames, and LHP Drew Smyly. Now, I’m not saying that is an awful haul, but the way it has been reported for weeks, you figured the Rays were going to make away like bandits. I don’t see them doing that here. Nick Franklin, who is still on 23 years old, has torn up the minors. He is a career .288 hitter with a .365 OBP in the minors. This year, the Mariners gave him a shot with the big boys. It did not go well. At all. He was only given 47 AB’s until he was sent down. He only hit .128 with only one extra base hit. In 2013, he played 102 games with the Mariners and hit .225. He has been very unimpressive. With that being said, he has been a top 80 prospect in baseball since 2013 so he has some upside. We shall see. Fun fact? Franklin is from Florida.
Rival execs stunned by #Rays return on Price. Thought they'd get more based on what they asked elsewhere. Adames getting good reviews though
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 31, 2014
Drew Smyly is a very nice pickup. He was never ranked super high in baseball rankings, but has been very good in the Majors. Last season, he just pitched out of the bullpen and in 76 innings, posted a 2.37 ERA with 81 strikeouts. This season as a starter, he is 6-9 with a 3.77 ERA in 17 starts. He is no David Price and won’t ever be a David Price, but he will fit in nicely into the Rays rotation. He is only 25 years old and won’t be a free agent until 2019. Typical move by the Rays. Scoring guys who are under team control for many more years to come.
The last piece the Rays acquired in this deal was prospect Willy Adames, a 18 year old shortstop from Detroit. The Rays must love something about this kid or this deal looks awful. Adames, who is only in A-ball right now, is hitting .269 with six home runs, 50 RBI, 14 doubles, 12 triples, three stolen bases, and a .346 OBP. By just looking at the numbers, what sticks out to me is that the kid has 12 triples and only three stolen bases. That makes zero sense. He has only attempted nine steals, and has gotten caught six times. It is his first year in America and he is one of the youngest players in the Midwest League. From Detroit Free Press writer Jordan Gorosh, “At the plate, Adames starts with a wide base and the bat on his back shoulder. He has a toe-tap load mechanism, gets his hands into a strong hitting position and generates “plus” bat speed through the zone. He has some pop in the bat and is able to barrel up pitches.”1 MLB.com just released their 2014 Prospect Watch for the Detroit Tigers and Adames was #3 on their list. Many organizations, scouts, and experts believe he could have been their top prospect.
All in all, it still seems like a weak return for David Price. I definitely thought the Rays could have gotten a lot more than this. Don’t get me wrong, Smyly is a good pitcher and Adames has a ton of upside, but I’m not sold on Nick Franklin. I think the Rays want to get another Zobrist out of him and I just don’t see it happening. Adames will still need years in the system to develop. And as for Smyly, he really doesn’t have ‘ace’ upside. You figured the Rays would look for a groundbreaking prospect or player in return, and I don’t feel like they got that.
I do believe the Mariners and Tigers are big winners. I know the Mariners just got Austin Jackson, but Austin Jackson for Nick Franklin? That is a no brainer. What a huge addition for Seattle without giving up much. And like I mentioned earlier, Jackson is now reunited with McClendon. I believe that could help him out a lot.
I cannot reiterate enough how great this Tigers’ rotation is. They are stacked one though five, not just one through four. Any pitcher they throw out there, they have a great chance of winning that ball game. I do worry about David Price’s postseason numbers, as he is 1-4 with a 5.06 ERA. That is something to be concerned about, but maybe a change of scenery and a much better ball club is what he needs. All I know is, the Tigers did not give up much to get a proven ace and Dave Dombrowski should get a standing ovation for this one from Tigers’ fans.