The Tampa Bay Rays traded David Price in a three-team trade on Thursday to the Detroit Tigers as the Tigers sent Austin Jackson to the Mariners. David Price is now gone. It happened. The reality of this has set in. All the speculation is now gone and it hurts. This was a total blow to all of the Rays’ fans. All Rays’ fans know this was going to happen eventually but this was not the deal Andrew Friedman needed to make at this time before the trade deadline. The Rays were still in the hunt as they had been the best team in baseball since June 11th. But now everyone knows this team is not going to be able to make the postseason without their horse on the mound of David Price. Tampa Bay could have gotten the same deal in the offseason and been able to continue our postseason hopes. The Rays received left handed pitcher Drew Smyly from the Detroit Tigers, Nick Franklin a middle infielder from the Seattle Mariners and an 18-year-old shortstop Willy Adames from the Tigers farm system. These three players are not going to make the Rays playoff run any easier. Smyly is a decent left handed pitcher who is only 25 years old but will not replace the arm of David Price in the pitching rotation. Nick Franklin has been on the radar for the Rays because he is versatile but he does not exactly have the bat Rays fans were hoping for in this deal. Maybe one day he can become like a Ben Zobrist for the Rays as he is only 23 years old with some good upside. The St. Louis Cardinals or Los Angeles Dodgers had way better prospects than these players that Friedman could have pursued. This trade all went down about 15 minutes before the trade deadline ended on Thursday as this capped off an already crazy day. There was a rumor Ben Zobrist was traded as well but this was not true.
The Rays (53-55) are still 7.5 games back of the Baltimore Orioles (60-47) in the AL East. It's not going to be easy to take the field on Friday against the Los Angeles Angels without David Price in the dugout. He was a leader in the clubhouse and the ace of the pitching staff. This trade likely makes the Detroit Tigers (58-47) the World Series favorites. The Rays on the other hand now will most likely look to the future and hope Jeremy Hellickson can be the great pitcher he once was. Matt Moore will not be back until June next season so Jake Odorizzi is going to have to continue his quality pitching. He has pitched very well recently for Tampa Bay. Drew Smyly will be added to the rotation immediately as he could start on the road on Tuesday in Oakland. The Rays will have to make a roster move to add Nick Franklin to the roster when he comes up from Triple-A Durham. It looks as Cole Figueroa will be sent down as of now as the odd man out. David DeJesus and Wil Myers will also return to the lineup in August as well. There is going to be some tough decisions the Rays will have to make as Brandon Guyer has been playing solid. Tampa Bay can't send down Kevin Kiermaier so this is going to be hard to have so many outfielders on the bench.
There is only 54 games remaining; so 90 wins is still possible. The Rays will have to go 37-17 to get there though. The Rays are six games back of the Wild Card as well. They could make up ground as the Angels come in town this weekend. Jeremy Hellickson will take the hill on Friday followed by Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi as they begin a three-game series at Tropicana Field against the Angels (64-43). Andrew Friedman has made some gutsy moves that have panned out in the past but this one seems to really be a bust at first glance. We will see how all this pans out when the dust settles but this is definitely a blow for the Rays playoff hopes in 2014. The Rays have a ten-game road trip after this following weekend.