What to do about David Price?
The Detroit Tigers are in a very interesting situation. On one hand, they are 34-33 and playing arguably their worst baseball in half a decade. On the other, however, they sit just three games out of an AL Wild Card spot, and it is not unreasonable to assume that if they were to make the playoffs, they could make a deep run.
So where does that leave the Tigers and their ace?
Either David Dombrowski can hold on to Price in hopes that Detroit can muster up enough wins to squeeze into the playoffs and make one more serious run at a title, or he can punt, and use his most valuable trade piece to reinvigorate the future of his team.
Realistically, they should be patient. Yes, they are 5 1/2 games out of first place. However, in 2012, they were six games out on June 12, and went on to the World Series. Essentially, almost anything can happen with over half the season left. And, for all the cynicism regarding Detroit’s age, one area in which it benefits them, is in regards to patience.
By the same token, though, the Tigers cannot afford many more weeks without a sense of urgency. And, if they fail to drum up what urgency they seem to lack, the best course of action is to trade Price.
The reasons are clear. Detroit sacrificed youth and financial flexibility to keep their championship window propped open, but it has cost them the chance at long-term, sustained success. And, with the likelihood that Yoenis Cespedes departs in free agency, as well as the ever increasing chances that Nick Castellanos is a bust, the Tigers lack budding young superstar strength capable of bridging the gap.
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That would certainly change in the wake of a Price trade. Now, with Price just a half-year rental at this point, the Tigers will not be turning their franchise around with one trade, such as the Philadelphia Phillies hope to do with Cole Hamels. Nor will they get in return what they paid to get Price.
However, Price does represent a significant opportunity for teams to add enough talent to win a championship, and in turn, a chance for the Tigers to add good young talent.
By that logic, it is not unreasonable to believe that Detroit can pry solid youth from either the Dodgers, or the Cubs, who are among two of the most likely destinations for Price, if he is made available.
Players like Los Angeles’ Corey Seager, or Chicago’s Jorge Soler are certainly out of the question, but both teams have legitimate, and disposable depth in their farm systems. If Detroit is eight or nine games out at the All-Star break it would be foolish to cling to a pipe dream and risk their last chance at attaining this type of talent.
Say, for example that Detroit could nab a few players such as Billy McKinney and Corey Black from Chicago. Mckinney is the fifth best prospect in the Cub’s organization and is hitting .313 with 5 HRs and 38 RBI in 2015, while Black is one of the hardest throwing prospects in baseball with three other pitches that can be average or better.
The Tigers would regret leaving any deal in that realm on the table in any scenario aside from one in which they are the 2015 World Series champions. And, in the end, the Tigers desperate desire for that championship could very well doom their future.