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That could change in a hurry if teams show interest in trading for one of the current five starters, namely David Price.
According to both Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, the St. Louis Cardinals have been eyeing Price, although they are doing their do-diligence by also looking into a trade for Philadelphia Phillies’ ace Cole Hamels or signing Missouri native Max Scherzer.
The Cardinals’ ace, Adam Wainwright, underwent elbow surgery in October and the team will be looking for some insurance should he falter in 2015. According to the report, St. Louis would prefer to add a left-hander, but if they couldn’t get a reasonable deal for a lefty would consider the righty Scherzer because of his local ties and his status as the top pitcher on the market.
Perhaps the only thing holding the Cardinals back is what is holding every other team in baseball back: Scherzer’s reported asking price above $200 million.
If Price is traded to St. Louis, or elsewhere, suddenly even DD couldn’t continue to say he was “comfortable” with the Tigers’ starting pitching with a wink and a nod. This, of course, would strengthen the possibility of Max coming back to the Tigers, or perhaps they would go in another direction and make a run at the second-best starter still on the market, James Shields.
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Price will enter into free agency after this season and the player and team have shown no urgency to work out a long-term deal. He will cost the Tigers a pretty penny in 2015. Eligible for arbitration, Price figures to command the highest value of any arbitration-eligible player this year. He also indicated that he was not enamored with the trade to Detroit but said he eventually settled in.
Despite a respectable 3.59 ERA in 11 starts with the Tigers last August, September and October, his ups and downs seemed to indicate he was negatively effected.
So it may be in the Tigers’ best long-term interests to ship the 2012 Cy Young winner and get some pieces back other than settling on a likely compensatory draft pick if they offer him a qualifying offer next off-season.
That would, however, not be in their short-term best interests if they want to go to the postseason for the fifth straight year. Unless, of course, another deal for a starting pitcher is made.