(Reuters) - The Toronto Blue Jays, who fortified their impressive offense earlier this week, added a big weapon to their pitching staff by trading for Detroit Tigers left-hander David Price, the club announced on Thursday.
The Blue Jays, who at 51-51 were two games out of the American League’s second Wild Card playoff spot, took a big step toward returning to the playoffs for the first time since 1993 with the deal.
Toronto are sending their top pitching prospect, left-hander Daniel Norris, and two other promising lefties to Detroit for 2012 Cy Young winner Price, who is 9-4 record with a 2.53 ERA this season.
The deal came one day before Major League Baseball’s trade deadline, which this season has produced a string of dynamic deals.
Earlier on Thursday, the St. Louis Cardinals found offensive help by acquiring first baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for their highly touted young left-hander Rob Kaminsky.
Central Division-leading St. Louis plugged a hole in their lineup created by a leg injury to Matt Holliday on Wednesday.
Moss, an All-Star last season with the Oakland A’s, was batting just .217 this season, though his 15 home runs would immediately make him the Cardinals’ team leader. He has driven in 48 runs, one fewer than St. Louis team-leader Jhonny Peralta.
Kaminsky, 20, has a 2.09 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 94 2/3 innings this season for Class A Advanced Palm Beach.
Toronto made a big splash earlier this week by swapping shortstops with the Colorado Rockies, sending them Jose Reyes for Troy Tulowitzki, who promptly homered in his first at-bat for the offensively loaded Blue Jays on Wednesday.
Price should help stabilize Toronto’s starting rotation.
The 29-year-old lefty, who can become a free agent after this season, has been an All-Star selection in five of the last six seasons and has a career record of 95-55 with a 3.13 ERA.
In return for Price, Detroit also received pitchers Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt along with Norris, who made five starts for Toronto this season going 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA.
Boyd posted a 9-2 record with a 1.68 ERA in 18 starts for New Hampshire (AA) and Buffalo (AAA) this season, while Labourt is currently 2-7 with a 4.59 ERA at Dunedin (A).
(This story corrects trade team to Colorado Rockies in ninth para)
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes