The Toronto Blue Jays, fresh off the trade for Troy Tulowitzki, just made their second high-profile acquisition in three days, acquiring lefty David Price from the Tigers. The package heading back to Detroit is fronted by pitching prospect Daniel Norris. Also heading to the Tigers: 2013 sixth round pitcher Matt Boyd and 21-year-old pitching prospect Jairo Labourt.
For the Tigers this marks the beginning of a “reboot,” to use their term. A rebuild if you’re being less charitable. In any event it’s the official acknowledgement that 2015 was a failure and that they do not believe they can sign Price to a long-term deal.
And, as far as reboots go, it’s a good one. Assuming that Price was not re-signing in Detroit — a safe assumption — and given that the Tigers weren’t going to make the playoffs this year. Getting a team-controlled potential ace like Norris and more is a great haul. Norris had a cup of coffee in Toronto to begin the season and didn’t fare well in terms of control, but he’s been figuring things out at Triple-A as the summer has worn on. His stuff is amazing, of course, and it’s only a matter of time before he figures it out at the big league level.
Boyd is 9-2 with a 1.68 ERA across Double-A and Triple-A this season, with a K/BB ratio of 107/24 in 112.2 innings pitched. Labourt, a big hard-thrower, is in his first season at high-A Dunedin, where he is 2-7 with a 4.59 ERA. He’s more of a work in progress, with high strikeout rates but high walk rates as well.
Price, of course, needs no introduction, and his place on a Blue Jays team clearly going for it this year is clear. The 2012 Cy Young Award winner is enjoying another fine season, posting a record of 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 138/29 in 146 innings. Some of his peripheral stats aren’t up to his career highs, but his ERA+ of 156, if it holds up, is his best ever mark. He’s still an ace, obviously, and one who is going to get paid in a major way after this season when he hits the market as a free agent.
For now, though, he’s the new ace of the Toronto Blue Jays. Who, when the day began, were in third place, seven games back in the AL East and two games back of the Twins for the second AL Wild Card spot. They have work to do. But now they have a workhorse to help them do it.