Tigers move quick, get three pitchers for Price
All-Star hurler goes to Toronto for package of lefties headlined by Norris
BALTIMORE -- Less than 24 hours after the Tigers began their rebooting plan, they moved their biggest piece. Detroit sent All-Star left-hander David Price to Toronto on Thursday in exchange for a package headlined by left-handed starter Daniel Norris.
The Tigers also received left-handed prospects Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt.
The agreement brings a quick end to what was expected to be a competitive pursuit for Price, who immediately became the top player available on the trade market when Detroit decided on Wednesday to listen to trade offers.
"We heard from seven or eight clubs," Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "We were up until about 2 in the morning, and there were a lot of phone calls made during that time. We had our guys up there, and we discussed a lot of different things -- clubs making offers, clubs telling us who they may not include in deals, which makes a big difference, us asking about individuals, coming up with different ideas, and then some organizations maybe not being as deep as others."
The Dodgers were expected to be heavily involved by offering a package of prospects, but reportedly were unwilling to deal Top 10 prospects in shortstop Corey Seager or left-hander Julio Arias. But with Price expected to test free agency at season's end, and the Dodgers expected to be among the most interested bidders, the deal essentially came down to how much the Dodgers were willing to get him for their stretch run this season and creating a potentially stacked rotation with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
The Blue Jays, however, don't have that stack. They needed somebody to front their rotation and were willing to part with top-ranked pitchers to do it. Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos, Dombrowski said, was willing to talk about anybody in the Jays' farm system, leading them to a package centered around Norris.
Norris, the No. 1 prospect in Toronto's system, according to MLBPipeline.com, and the 17th-ranked prospect in all of baseball going into the year, began the season in the Blue Jays' rotation and made five starts in April -- going 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 23 1/3 innings -- before being optioned to Triple-A Buffalo. He has gone 3-10 with a 4.27 ERA in 16 starts there, allowing 43 earned runs on 96 hits over 90 2/3 innings with 41 walks and 78 strikeouts.
"He's a premium pitching prospect," Dombrowski said, "one of the best young pitching prospects at the big league level. He's a four-pitch guy, but he's got an above-average fastball. He's got a real good feel on the mound. We like him a lot."
Norris, who turned 22 years old in April, joins the Tigers' rotation immediately. He is scheduled to start Sunday in what would have been Price's turn.
"I can't tell you that he's 100-percent developed at this point," Dombrowski said, "but we do need a starter for Sunday. And he gives us an opportunity to pitch well, but he's very close to being big league ready overall."
Boyd, a 24-year-old southpaw drafted out of Oregon State in 2013, made his Major League debut last month and made two starts, allowing 11 runs on 15 hits over 6 2/3 innings with a walk and seven strikeouts. He rose quickly this summer after going 9-2 with 1.68 ERA over 18 starts between Buffalo and Double-A New Hampshire. Boyd averaged six innings a start while allowing just 71 hits, striking out 107 and walking 24 in 112 2/3 innings.
"Boyd is a 90-94 [mph] guy that has really come on this year," Dombrowski said. "Our scout, Jeff Wetherby, really liked him a great deal. I think both of them have an opportunity to be part of our staff next year."
Labourt is more of a projection pick. The 21-year-old Dominican, who has a 6-foot-4 frame and projections for a power fastball, is 2-7 with a 4.59 ERA in his first season of Advanced Class A ball in Dunedin.
The total package projects to be more than the first-round compensation Draft pick the Tigers would've received had they kept Price and watched him sign elsewhere as a free agent. It also sticks to Detroit's expressed plan of retooling to contend next season rather than looking toward future years.
"Like I said, we're rebooting, not rebuilding," Dombrowski said. "We have a good core club, we feel going forward, with some real foundation players. And so, if you can get players who are close to the big leagues and ready to contribute, you can go into next season and identify on the free-agent and trade markets what you want to pursue to still be real good."