David Price has been traded again, and this time he's coming back to the American League East. The Toronto Blue Jays are sending arguably their top pitching prospect, Daniel Norris, to Detroit, along with two other young pitchers (Jairo Labcourt and Matt Boyd) in exchange for the former Rays ace.
The move is interesting from Toronto. On the one hand, they are a .500 team, seven games back of the Yankees in the division. On the other hand, they're only two games back in the wild card race, and while they've already improved marginally at the deadline by trading Jose Reyes and a few pitching prospects for Troy Tulowitzki, this is a trade that fills their needs perfectly. There's nothing wrong with the Blue Jays offense -- they've scored the most runs in baseball -- but they clearly need better pitching, as they've posted the ninth-worst ERA in baseball and the fourth worst in the American League.
David Price will help them.
What does this mean for the Rays? Well, Tampa Bay currently sits half a game behind Toronto in the wild card race, and catching them just became a more difficult proposition. What Toronto does shouldn't unduly influence Matt Silverman one way or the other, but it does nudge the dial. With the Jays geared up for a late-season run, Silveman may be more willing to sell at the deadline and less willing to buy rentals for the Rays.
If that's the case, though, and if the Rays don't make it to the postseason this year, this trade will most likely benefit them in the long term. Labourt and Boyd are both too far away from the majors to speak about them with much certainty, but Norris seamed poised to develop into a pretty good middle-of-the-rotation starter, with a fastball-curve combination that occasionally flashed even more potential than that.
When quality players like Norris are traded out of the division before their careers get a chance to take off, that helps the Rays chances down the road.
Of course, the playoffs don't actually start at the trading deadline. There's a bunch of games that need to be played still, and Tampa Bay is only half a game behind Toronto in the standings. If the Rays, who are apparently listening to offers for Nathan Karns, are able to beat out the souped-up Blue Jays and make it to the wild card, well, that would be delicious.