NEW YORK (Reuters) — Division leaders Detroit and Oakland forged an American League arms race as the Tigers got David Price from Tampa Bay and the A’s dealt for Boston’s Jon Lester in a frenzied finish to Thursday’s trade deadline.
The pair of aces could lead to an epic collision in the AL Championship Series between West-leading Oakland, who have a Major League Baseball-best record of 66-41, and the Central’s Tigers (58-47), who own the biggest division lead in the majors.Oakland swapped some power to add another dynamic arm to their rotation as they sent All-Star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the Red Sox for Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes.
Lester (10-7, 2.52 ERA) joins a rotation that boasts Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir and Jeff Samardzija, acquired in an earlier blockbuster with the Cubs, as cost-conscious general manager of the small market A’s, Billy Beane, moved his chips all-in for a run at the World Series.
Detroit, Fall Classic runners-up in 2012 and 2006, found the price was right to obtain Price (11-8, 3.11 ERA) in a three-way deal that included the Seattle Mariners.
“wow...what a day!! Rays fans THANK YOU!! Great Chapter of my life just ended...ready to start a new one with the Tigers!! Thanks again” Price said on Twitter.
In adding Price to a stellar starting group including Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez, the Tigers sent lefty Drew Smyly to the Rays and outfielder Austin Jackson to the Mariners, who shipped infielder Nick Franklin to Tampa Bay.
NL East-leading Washington Nationals (58-47) shored up their infield by obtaining shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera from Cleveland for young infielder Zach Walters.
Fuld to Oakland
Left-hander Tommy Milone was traded to the Minnesota Twins as the Oakland Athletics remained active at the trading deadline Thursday.
FOX Sports 1 first reported the trade.
Outfielder Sam Fuld, from Durham, N.H., went back to the Athletics in the trade. Fuld, 32, was batting .358 in July. and began the season with Oakland.
Milone had won a career-high six straight decisions when the A’s optioned him to Triple-A Sacramento on July 5 after acquiring right-handers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs.
The demotion did not sit well with Milone, who asked to be traded.
Manager Bob Melvin said Milone called him stunned the day the news broke. The A’s were able to send Milone to Sacramento because he’s not out of options.
“I don’t think there’s any softening to it,” Melvin said of Milone possibly having a change of heart. “He wants to pitch in the big leagues. He’d much rather do it here. When you’ve had the type of success that he’s had and you’re pitching in the minor leagues, that’s not somewhere he wants to be.”
Minnesota’s starting rotation lacks a No. 1 starter. RIcky Nolasco was signed to a $47 million deal to lead the rebuilt starting staff, but he is 5-7 with a 5.90 ERA and is currently on the 15-day disabled list with an elbow injury.
Phil Hughes, signed as a free agent from the New York Yankees, has emerged as the team’s top starter.
Fuld spent a little more than three months with the Twins, including a stint on the concussion disabled list after a collision with the centerfield wall, and was the team’s hottest hitter over the past three weeks. He reached base in 18 of his last 22 games with the Twins, batting .358 with a .476 on-base percentage over that span. In 56 total games with Minnesota, the 33-year-old Fuld, who was claimed by the Twins on April 20 after being waived by Oakland, batted .274 with one homer and 17 RBIs.
His departure leaves the Twins short on experienced center fielders. Danny Santana, a converted shortstop, has handled the position for most of the past two months, but with Fuld gone, none of the Twins’ other options — Chris Parmelee, Eduardo Nunez, Eduardo Escobar — figure to be a reliable backup.