Tigers to 'reboot,' listening on offers for David Price, others

ByJayson Stark ESPN logo
Thursday, July 30, 2015

Exactly a year after both were dealt on trade deadline day, David Price and Yoenis Cespedes are back on the market.

Confirming an ESPN.com report, general manager Dave Dombrowski said he told multiple teams Wednesday afternoon that the Detroit Tigers will listen on all their potential free agents -- Price, Cespedes, closer Joakim Soria and others -- between now and Friday's trade deadline.

Dombrowski labeled the decision a "rebooting," saying the Tigers have a solid foundation going forward.

"We're only going to make a trade if we think it makes sense for us," the GM said, according to MLB.com. "But we think it gives us a chance to restock our club."

The Tigers have been sliding in the standings since their 11-2 start and have fallen to a season-worst four games under .500, 13 games out of first place in the AL Central and 4 games behind in the wild-card race this week.

Dombrowski said the decision to make those players available came after the Tigers rallied to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 on Wednesday, and he soon called other teams to notify them.

That means any of their six prospective free agents -- Price, Cespedes, Soria, catcher Alex Avila, pitcher Alfredo Simon and outfielder Rajai Davis -- could be dealt before the deadline.

But most of the attention will center on Price, Cespedes and Soria. The Tigers traded for Price last year hours before the deadline with hopes he could fill the void left by the impending departure of right-hander Max Scherzer via free agency. This year, they hope to do the same by dealing Price, who is fifth in the AL in ERA (2.53) and fourth in strikeouts (138 in 146 innings).

The Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees are among the teams that have been in a holding pattern for some time, hoping Price would become available.

Cespedes, meanwhile, joins Justin Upton as one of the biggest bats available on the market.

The outfielder is hitting .289/.320/.487 with 17 homers, and he recently went nearly six weeks without drawing a walk. He has hit four home runs in his past nine games and is slugging .545 in July.

Soria has saved 22 games in 25 opportunities and, other than a rough stretch in mid-June, has been dominant at times. Since the All-Star break, he has allowed hits to just three of the 25 hitters he has faced.

Clubs that spoke with the Tigers on Wednesday got the impression the decision to "reboot, but not rebuild" came from owner Mike Ilitch but was endorsed by team president and Dombrowski.

"They know Price is not coming back there," an executive of one team that talked with them said. "And if they hold him and get a draft pick, by the time that pick is in the big leagues, Mr. Ilitch will be 90. Their farm system is pretty bare. So I think they needed to do this."