Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has informed a number of beat writers, including Jason Beck of MLB.com, that Detroit is "rebooting" and willing to sell off players that are operating on expiring contracts. That includes David Price and Yoenis Cespedes, as well as closer Joakim Soria and Rajai Davis. The announcement comes as Detroit sits at 49-52 and in fourth place in the AL Central, and 12.5 games out of first place as of this writing. Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeted that the Yankees are poised to enter a bidding war with the Dodgers and Blue Jays now that Price is officially available.
The announcement carries heavy ramifications for this week's trade market beyond the players' newfound availability. Price is now the most appealing potential acquisition on the starting pitching front, which throws a wrench into the Phillies' plans to move Cole Hamels for the biggest package possible. For a team like the Yankees that doesn't want to get into bed with a pitcher in his thirties for an extended period of time (Hamels is signed through 2018), a rent-an-ace like Price is a tantalizing option. The Tigers are also free to sit back and enjoy the fireworks of a bidding war, as their farm system is in dire need of replenishment and many teams will be willing to pay through the nose for the right to get an ace without owing money to Cole Hamels for the next few years. Cespedes is also a welcome addition to the market for teams that are in need of a power bat and are scared of Justin Upton's diminished offensive output.
In terms of what all of this means for the Yankees, however, much less is clear. Reports have been coming out all week that the Yankees are loath to part with their top four prospects (Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Jorge Mateo and Greg Bird). They supposedly turned down a Hamels deal that involved Judge or Severino, and just earlier today it was revealed they turned down a deal for Craig Kimbrel that involved Mateo. Getting into the David Price sweepstakes in a serious way would require a change in that line of thinking, unless the Yankees are willing to part with significant pieces from their 25-man roster. As we all know, the Yankees don't exactly have an abundance of young cost-controlled talent kicking around in the Bronx, so this deal would most likely be built around prospects. It also stands to reason that the Tigers would want talent that is close to the majors, as owner Mike Ilitch is known to desire a World Series title before he passes away and Ilitch is 86 years old. The Tigers still have Miguel Cabrera, and they still have J.D. Martinez, and they still have Jose Iglesias, and they still have a lot of money. There's the potential for a winner here. Plugging a nearly-ready Aaron Judge or Luis Severino into that farm system could make that even more likely.
However, there's the matter of that bidding war. The Dodgers have Corey Seager and Julio Urias to offer, among others, and the Blue Jays still own the rights to Daniel Norris, Dalton Pompey, Anthony Alford and Max Pentecost even after acquiring Troy Tulowitzki. The Dodgers need to fill rotation spots beyond Clayton Kershaw and Zack Grienke (and Mat Latos, whom they acquired today), and the Blue Jays are desperate for live arms to compliment their bonkers offense. Both teams have the motive to overpay for Price, and it's not hard to imagine the Giants or Cubs jumping in either. If the Yankees want to make this happen, they'll need to be assertive and convincing with their bargaining.
Nicolas Stellini is a staff writer at Pinstripe Alley, where he writes about the Yankees and covers the Double-A Trenton Thunder. His national coverage can be found at Beyond the Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter at @StelliniTweets.