Former Detroit Tigers Beat Writer, Tom Gage, joins WDET’s Pat Batcheller and Art Regner for a conversation about the Tigers trading away pitchers David Price and Joakim Soria on Thursday. Price was sent to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for three left-handed pitching prospects, while Soria was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates for an infield prospect. Gage, who was inducted into the writers wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame last Saturday, believes that it was not an easy decision for the Tigers to part with their pitching ace in Price and their closer in Soria. He also feels that the Tigers could pull off more deals before the end of baseball’s trade deadline which ends at 4pm today (Friday). Some of the other highlights of the discussion include:
- Convincing Mr. Ilitch to trade Price: Batcheller, Regner and Gage agree that Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, had a tough sell to convince Detroit owner Mike Ilitch to part with Price, because it goes against Mr. I’s nature of competing until the bitter end.
- Jury out on the Price trade: On paper it appears that the Tigers received three talented prospects for Price, especially David Norris, the main piece of the deal. But Gage cautions that while Norris has a great upside, he’s still a prospect and unproven at the major league level.
- Soria trade a head scratcher: When a team trades their closer, they usually get in return at least one top prospect and perhaps an established player, but the Tigers received just one player, infielder JaCoby Jones, an intriguing prospect, but far from major league ready.
- The futures of Dombrowski and Brad Ausmus: Gage says that it’s hard to imagine Dave Dombrowski not being the Tigers GM, but perhaps a change of scenery may be beneficial for everyone. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus has not had a good year according to Gage and his future with the team may depend on if Dombrowski returns as General Manager.
- Detroit is still in the race: Despite trading at least two key elements, the Tigers could still contend for a wild-card slot if pitcher Justin Verlander continues to improve and if one of baseball’s best hitters, Miguel Cabrera, returns from injury without missing a beat.
- Alex Avila could be moved: The Tigers catcher could be dealt before the end of the deadline, Gage says. His reasoning is that Avila is a stellar defensive backstop and has a lot of big game experience calling games.
To hear the entire conversation, please click the audio link above.