Tigers acquire David Price from Rays, send Austin Jackson to Seattle and Drew Smyly to Tampa

In a stunning move that gives them three former Cy Young Award winners, the Detroit Tigers have acquired David Price from the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-way deal with the Seattle Mariners.

A person with direct knowledge of the deal confirmed it to USA TODAY Sports. He spoke on condition of anonymity because it has not yet been announced.

The Mariners will receive center fielder Austin Jackson from the Tigers and will send infielder Nick Franklin to the Rays, who also will receive lefty Drew Smyly and Class A shortstop Willy Adames.

Jackson was removed from the Tigers games against the Chicago White Sox in the seventh inning and replaced by Rajai Davis. (USA Today)

The 28-year-old Price, who long ago established himself as one of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball, has this season pitched to a 3.11 ERA (121 ERA+) in an MLB-leading 23 starts, and he’s also logged a stellar K/BB ratio of 8.22. For his career, the former top overall pick has a 122 ERA+ and 3.45 K/BB ratio across parts of seven big-league seasons.

Price, a four-time All-Star, won the AL Cy Young award in 2012 and finished second in the balloting in 2010. The lefty Price is owed the balance of a $14-million salary for this season. Next season, Price, as a super-two player, is eligible for salary arbitration for a fourth time, so a hefty payday is in the offing. He’s eligible for free agency after next season. (CBS Sports)

The Tigers had been searching for one more reliever, but with asking prices high, they kept their options open on the starting pitching market. While the Rays had two different scouts watching the Tigers’ farm system since early last week, a source suggested they didn’t have the prospects to match up with other teams needing starting pitching, such as the Pirates — whom the Rays scouted heavily — and the Cardinals.

The Tigers pulled an end-around by taking away from their big league roster with two key pieces.

Even with one of the best rotations in the league coming in, the Tigers’ appeal on Price was the same as it would’ve been for any club, including a 3.18 ERA for his career, a 3.11 ERA for the season, and a league-leading 189 strikeouts over 170 2/3 innings. His 24.9 wins above replacement since 2010 ranks fifth among all Major League pitchers. (MLB)

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