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Scouts eye Price as Tigers mull Deadline direction

ST. PETERSBURG -- While scouts gathered at Tropicana Field for Tuesday's 10-2 Tigers loss to the Rays to watch David Price make his final start before Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, some of them readying for a potential sale, the Tigers continued to have scouts elsewhere looking at their options to add in the coming days.

For now, at least, this remains the Tigers' reality, as they weigh whether their postseason chances -- which stood at just 14.6 percent entering the day according to Baseball Prospectus estimations -- are realistic enough to add talent for a run, or long enough to trade away pending free agents and collect prospects in return.

Scouts from perceived buyers and sellers alike were in the seats behind home plate Tuesday. Most of them were holdovers from Monday's series opener. The notable new arrival was a scout from the Dodgers, who are expected to make a push for Price if the Tigers opt to trade him. Though reports suggested the Dodgers could make Yasiel Puig available, any selling on the Tigers' part is expected to target younger prospects, possibly the top talent in the Dodgers' system.

The Giants and Blue Jays also had scouts on hand.

At the same time, buzz continued about the Tigers conversely adding a starting pitcher. A report from USA Today's Bob Nightengale suggested the Tigers would target Reds starter Mike Leake if they're close enough in the American League Wild Card race.

The Tigers had a scout watching the Reds last week, though it wasn't clear if they had a scout watching Leake's start Tuesday night at St. Louis. The Reds, meanwhile, have had scouts on hand for Tigers Minor League games, including Double-A Erie in recent days.

Tigers officials met Tuesday at the team hotel here for a second consecutive day, trying to evaluate their options. The final decision on buying or selling, however, is expected to include a significant voice from ownership, which has spent aggressively for close to a decade in pursuit of a World Series crown.

With five losses in six games, and a 4-8 record since the All-Star break, the Tigers' recent play hasn't helped their case. With two games left before Friday's 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline, the best the Tigers can do is creep back to two games under .500.

Under the two-team Wild Card format, they remain on the periphery of the postseason chase, 4 1/2 games behind the Twins but with four other teams ahead of them. One of those teams is the Rays, who have beaten the Tigers back-to-back nights, with Chris Archer pitching opposite Justin Verlander Wednesday afternoon. Another is the Orioles, who the Tigers will face for four games beginning Thursday in Baltimore.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.
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