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Grading The Deal: Tigers Land Price From Rays, Mariners Get Involved

By Andrew Perna

The Detroit Tigers, in a literal arms race with the Oakland Athletics for American League supremacy, have acquired David Price in a three-team deal with the Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners.

As it got closer to Thursday afternoon’s deadline, the Rays became more serious about moving Price, who can become a free agent after the 2015 season. For the Tigers, adding Price to their rotation helps them compete now while also giving them a potential replacement for Max Scherzer, who will hit the open market this winter.

The Mariners will receive Austin Jackson from the Tigers, while Tampa Bay’s return for their ace was Nick Franklin (Seattle), Drew Smyly (Detroit) and shortstop prospect Willy Adames (Detroit).

Franklin didn’t appear to have a future in Seattle following the blockbuster signing of Robinson Cano this past winter and adding Jackson to help grease the wheels for Detroit and Tampa Bay is a nice yield. Franklin hasn’t hit well at the Major League level in 2014, but his Triple-A numbers (.294/.392/.455) have been very promising.

Despite adding Cano, the Mariners have struggled offensively. Only three teams have scored fewer runs this season and they rank second-to-last in OPS (.668).

Grade for Mariners: B+

Jackson is under team control through the 2016 season and his .727 OPS will help Seattle even though it’s the second lowest of his career. Two seasons ago he had a .856 OPS, while also hitting 16 home runs, and his glove will fit nicely in the Mariners’ outfield as well.

Detroit adds Price, a certifiable No. 1, to a rotation that already includes Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez. Rick Porcello, now the team’s fifth starter, has a 3.25 ERA this season. The price for the left-hander -- pun intended -- was their starting center fielder, previous fifth starter and a shortstop prospect that recently drew raves.

Just 18, Adames was one of the best prospects in a shallow Detroit farm system and the youngest everyday player in the Midwest League. There is time for the Rays to nurture him into something greater than expected, but he is not yet among the game’s top-level prospects.

The Tigers clearly felt as though adding Price made sense after the Athletics dealt for Lester earlier in the day. There are teams with more wins, but Detroit is considered the main threat to Oakland in the American League postseason. The four-man rotations that could be featured in the ALCS would be epic.

Grade for Detroit: A

Detroit didn’t get Price for a song-and-dance, but the cost wasn’t overwhelming either. Jackson has regressed since 2012 and Adames isn’t a guarantee to develop into a Major League player. Smyly, 25, has been very good already with only 35 starts to his name, but the chance to add a former Cy Young winner for approximately 40 starts was a great one.

When reports surfaced that the Rays would deal Price before the deadline it was assumed that teams were starting to impress them with packages unlike anything they had seen in the preceding weeks. The expectation was that Tampa Bay would get at least two Grade A prospects for the soon-to-be 29-year-old; instead the haul included no such players.

Franklin and Smyly give the Rays the ability to see the fruits of Price's value immediately, but the relative uncertainty surrounding Adames makes the deal a risky one. Did the market for a Cy Young winner dry up a bit because of all the starters that either changed hands or were reportedly made available? What would Andrew Friedman have been offered this winter if he had held onto Price just a little bit longer? Did Tampa Bay wait too long?

Grade for Rays: C-

While Smyly and Franklin are no longer prospects, there is potential growth there. Ben Zobrist's name was mentioned in rumors this week and while he wasn't traded, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted that the Rays see Franklin as a future utility player in the Zobrist mold -- strong bat with the ability to play a handful of positions.

Smyly has a 3.46 ERA, 1.219 WHIP and 262 strikeouts (81 walks) in 275.2 Major League innings since debuting in 2012. Pitching out of the bullpen last year, the left-hander had a 2.37 ERA and averaged 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings. He's still getting comfortable as a starter.

The haul isn't a bad one, but you assumed the Rays would get more for a veteran with a 3.18 ERA, 1.142 WHIP and a 3.45 K/BB ratio over seven seasons.


MLB Rankings For The Week Beginning July 28

By RealGM Staff Report

The Opsera is a statistic RealGM Executive Editor Chris Reina created in order to objectively rank teams by how well they hit (OPS) and pitch (ERA). 

In order to determine the Opsera rating for each, we take their OPS, multiply that number by 10 to move the decimal point over one place to the right and then subtract their ERA from that number.  

All statistics are through Sunday, July 27

Rankings from last week are in parenthesizes.

1. (1) Oakland Athletics – 4.25

It's becoming more and more likely that Oakland will sit in the top spot for the remainder of the season.

2. (3) Washington Nationals – 3.95

A gradual rise has the Nationals, seven wins in 10 games, as the class of the National League.

3. (2) Los Angeles Dodgers – 3.91

Los Angeles has the best road record -- 34-23 -- in baseball.

4. (4) Los Angeles Angels – 3.79

With Troy Tulowitzki on the DL, Mike Trout (5.6) will soon lead the Major Leagues in WAR.

5. (5) Detroit Tigers – 3.65

The Tigers, who ranked ninth in ERA in each of the last two seasons, sit 22nd entering the week.

6. (6) Seattle Mariners – 3.63

7. (12) Milwaukee Brewers – 3.56

T8. (7) Atlanta Braves – 3.50

-- (T9) St. Louis Cardinals – 3.50

-- (11) Baltimore Orioles – 3.50

11. (T9) San Francisco Giants – 3.49

12. (8) Pittsburgh Pirates – 3.48

13. (T13) Toronto Blue Jays – 3.44

14. (15) Tampa Bay Rays – 3.42

15. (16) Cleveland Indians – 3.35

16. (T13) Cincinnati Reds – 3.31

17. (17) New York Mets – 3.22

18. (18) Boston Red Sox – 3.17

19. (19) Kansas City Royals – 3.15

20. (20) New York Yankees – 3.13

T21. (21) Miami Marlins – 3.07

-- (22) Chicago White Sox – 3.07

23. (23) San Diego Padres – 2.96

24. (24) Chicago Cubs – 2.89

25. (26) Colorado Rockies – 2.88

26. (25) Arizona Diamondbacks – 2.76

27. (27) Philadelphia Phillies – 2.67

28. (28) Minnesota Twins – 2.54

29. (29) Houston Astros – 2.44

30. (30) Texas Rangers – 2.13

 

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MLB Rankings For The Week Beginning July 21

By RealGM Staff Report

The Opsera is a statistic RealGM Executive Editor Chris Reina created in order to objectively rank teams by how well they hit (OPS) and pitch (ERA). 

In order to determine the Opsera rating for each, we take their OPS, multiply that number by 10 to move the decimal point over one place to the right and then subtract their ERA from that number.  

All statistics are through Sunday, July 20

Rankings from last week are in parenthesizes.

1. (1) Oakland Athletics – 4.18

The Athletics lead a division with three teams at least six games over .500. Even Seattle would be within two games, in the win column, from first place in any other division.

2. (2) Los Angeles Dodgers – 3.94

Yasiel Puig has contributed a team-best 3.4 WAR to the Dodgers in 2014.

3. (3) Washington Nationals – 3.93

Washington has maintained the best ERA (3.10) in baseball despite nothing spectacular from Stephen Strasburg (3.55) and Gio Gonzalez (3.74).

4. (5) Los Angeles Angels – 3.80

The Angels continue to chase the first-place A's. They have the second-best record in the Major Leagues.

5. (4) Detroit Tigers – 3.72

Detroit has been average as of late, but still have more than a five-game edge in the American League Central.

6. (6) Seattle Mariners – 3.61

7. (T8) Atlanta Braves – 3.54

8. (13) Pittsburgh Pirates – 3.53

T9. (T11) San Francisco Giants – 3.52

-- (T11) St. Louis Cardinals – 3.52

11. (7) Baltimore Orioles – 3.47

12. (T8) Milwaukee Brewers – 3.44

T13. (10) Cincinnati Reds – 3.43

-- (14) Toronto Blue Jays – 3.43

15. (17) Tampa Bay Rays – 3.34

16. (16) Cleveland Indians – 3.33

17. (15) New York Mets – 3.28

18. (19) Boston Red Sox – 3.21

19. (18) Kansas City Royals – 3.10

20. (21) New York Yankees – 3.08

21. (20) Miami Marlins – 2.98

22. (22) Chicago White Sox – 2.96

23. (24) San Diego Padres – 2.95

24. (23) Chicago Cubs – 2.88

25. (28) Arizona Diamondbacks – 2.76

26. (25) Colorado Rockies – 2.75

27. (T26) Philadelphia Phillies – 2.68

28. (T26) Minnesota Twins – 2.62

29. (29) Houston Astros – 2.56

30. (30) Texas Rangers – 2.10

 

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