Tigers, A's add aces in MLB arms race

Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:41pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Division leaders Detroit and Oakland forged an American League arms race as the Tigers got David Price from Tampa Bay and the A's dealt for Boston's Jon Lester in a frenzied finish to Thursday's trade deadline.

The pair of aces could lead to an epic collision in the AL Championship Series between West-leading Oakland, who have a Major League Baseball-best record of 66-41, and the Central's Tigers (58-47), who own the biggest division lead in the majors.

Oakland swapped some power to add another dynamic arm to their rotation as they sent All-Star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the Red Sox for Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes.

Lester (10-7, 2.52 ERA) joins a rotation that boasts Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir and Jeff Samardzija, acquired in an earlier blockbuster with the Cubs, as cost-conscious general manager of the small market A's, Billy Beane, moved his chips all-in for a run at the World Series.

Detroit, Fall Classic runners-up in 2012 and 2006, found the price was right to obtain Price (11-8, 3.11 ERA) in a three-way deal that included the Seattle Mariners.

"wow...what a day!! Rays fans THANK YOU!! Great Chapter of my life just ended...ready to start a new one with the Tigers!! Thanks again" Price said on Twitter.

In adding Price to a stellar starting group including Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez, the Tigers sent lefty Drew Smyly to the Rays and outfielder Austin Jackson to the Mariners, who shipped infielder Nick Franklin to Tampa Bay.

Boston were busy at the trade deadline after falling flat in 2014 following their rousing World Series triumph last year.   Continued...

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester (31) throws a pitch during the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on July 25, 2014. USA TODAY Sports/Kim Klement