With minutes to go before the 2014 season non-waiver trade deadline was up, the AL Central shook. Dave Dombrowski, ever so famous for big trades, did it again. Rajai Davis trotted out to center field to take over for a fan favorite, Austin Jackson. Jackson having no idea what happened, was pulled and received a huge standing ovation from the 38,000 Tiger fans in attendance. Dave Dombrowski sent 26 year old Drew Smyly along with the Tigers’ starting center fielder, Austin Jackson, on their way out to obtain, not a first or second, but third former Cy Young winner to add to the rotation.
Drew Smyly was headed out to join Tampa Bays’ rotation, while Austin Jackson would slip into center field for the Seattle Mariners. Seattle sent INF Nick Franklin and Class A 19 year old, Willy Adames to join the Tampa Bay Rays. Who did Tampa Bay give up? A left-handed, notorious, 28 year old, 2012 Cy Young winner named David Price. The Tigers now had one of the best rotations ever formed, consisting of the three most recent Cy Young winners, the defending ERA champion, and a 25 year old ground ball pitcher who was having a breakout year (Rick Porcello). Detroit was now built to go deep into the playoffs, yet they didn’t. Detroit was swept in three games by the Baltimore Orioles, taking them out of the post-season.
After a horrendous ending to their season, Max Scherzer was headed to the free agent market. Along with him went veteran clubhouse leader, Torii Hunter and veteran hitter, coming off a career year, Victor Martinez. So, what was next? Retain all the players and go at it again? Rebuild? The answer is both. Dave Dombrowski did what he does best and reshaped the club. First, he set out to retain Joakim Soria, then he traded prospect Devon Travis for Anthony Gose, a young, defense oriented, center fielder. Next task on the agenda was to re-sign DH Victor Martinez, which was completed on November 14th. Robbie Ray, the main piece in the Doug Fister trade, was headed off to Arizona in a three way trade with the Yankees, bringing Shane Greene to the team coming off a solid rookie campaign. The most memorable of the big transactions came on December 11th, as Rick Porcello was headed off to Boston for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Wilson, and Gabe Speier. Lastly, Eugenio Suarez and Jonathon Crawford were sent to Cincinnati for starting pitcher Alfredo Simon.
Now with the club reshaped, Dombrowski had a choice, spend big bucks on Scherzer, or let him walk and use the money elsewhere. The baseball world found out on the 21st of January that Detroit let Mad Max walk.
Rumors began to fly around like bees on a bear trying to take their honey. The big question became, would David Price and the Tigers come to an extension? He never seemed pleased to be traded to Detroit in the first place, so many have their doubts.
While talking to the media among the Tigers Caravan, Price stated he would be “all ears” for an extension from the Tigers. Recently, Price was asked about what he would do if he had reached free agency from the Rays, he stated; “If it got to that point, this would definitely be a place I could pick to play.” It looks like Price may be warming up to the Detroit crowd. Once a Tiger, always a Tiger? Possibly for Price, yet only time will tell, if he is offered the same deal Max was in spring training (6 years 144 million) or if he could hit free agency for more. The win-now Tigers are desperate to claw their way to the top of the very competitive AL Central. Who knows what is around the corner with Dave Dombrowski in charge.
Baseball is,was, and always will be the greatest game in the world
Jake Wesley is now the only writer for MLB_NL_AL.com all of these articles are ether based on facts and pieces of his opinion.