At the eleventh hour, the Rays traded David Price for two momentarily proven major league pieces with years of control remaining, and a Tigers infield prospect that may have finished the season as their best in the minors (an accolade softened by weak competition).
Of all the speculation that occurred, we not only didn't expect a trade for major league players, but this was the least sexy trade fathomable, so of course it was the most Rays outcome possible.
Andrew Friedman spoke sparingly with news sources about the trade, but the most illuminating bits from the conference call have been gleaned is below.
On LHP Drew Smyly:
"We'll spot him into our rotation immediately. He's a guy that we feel like has excellent command, good secondary stuff, and we still feel like there's upside remaining with him. He's a guy we're excited to get. [He has] four more years of control, and we feel like he'll slot in really well with our four other guys and will allow us to continue to have our rotation be a strength for us."
On MIF Nick Franklin:
"He's a young infielder who can really play anywhere. For the most part, he's spent most of his time on the dirt. But we feel like he's versatile and athletic enough to move around. He has tremendous power. He's a switch-hitter with a very advanced approach. He's much further along from the left side of the plate than the right side. But we've seen progress there. And a guy that has that kind of power who can play the middle infield, both spots, we felt like he's a player who can help us win a lot of games in the future."
On INF Willy Adames:
"He's really an interesting prospect. He's the youngest position player in the Midwest League. He's a shortstop with a really good arm. ... His ability in the batter's box really stands out to us, and he has a chance to be a really good player."
On trading David Price:
"At the end of the day we felt like it was in the best interest of the organization going forward. David has been a fixture in our organization since 2008. Beyond the success he's enjoyed on the field, he's been as good of a teammates as I've ever seen. Tremendous competitor. Leader in the clubhouse. It goes without saying, he leaves an indelible mark on our franchise."
"We felt strongly that this move was something that made ultimate sense for us, and comparing it to the other possibilities, it was by far the most prudent thing that we could do for the best interest of the franchise."
"Simply said, standing pat makes it much, much more difficult for us to maintain a compelling, competitive team going forward. That's the reality of a low-revenue club. I think it's obvious to anyone who follows the game that the economic disparity is only widening, and it makes it a little bit more challenging in our quest to always balance the present and the future. But we can't waver from who we are and how we need to do things to have success."
Rays principal owner Stu Sternberg also chimed in on the deadline deal, via written statement:
"David has been an important part of the Rays franchise and the winning tradition we have established during his Rays career. I can't thank him enough for his contributions to the organization these past eight years, and we will clearly miss him. These are difficult decisions we are forced to confront. Our fans have come to understand that reality, just as our organization has learned to operate with the challenges posed by the economic model and the growing disparity in our sport."