ST. PETERSBURG -- The speculation is over. The Rays traded David Price to the Tigers in a three-team deal that also involved the Mariners prior to Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.
With Price going to the Tigers, Austin Jackson will go from Detroit to Seattle, Nick Franklin will come to the Rays from the Mariners and Drew Smyly and Willy Adames, the Tigers' No. 3 prospect, also join Tampa Bay from Detroit.
"My reaction is, obviously, you would prefer that David did not have to go, but then it doesn't surprise that he has to go under our working abilities here," manager Joe Maddon said. "So not a huge surprise, but disappointing in the sense that he was born a Ray.
"He helped propel us to a World Series. He's an outstanding pitcher and one of the best teammates I've ever been around. So all of that said, I hate losing the guy and it's Detroit's gain. He's going to be huge up there, just based on his personality, not even talking about his abilities."
Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg issued this statement in a news release.
"David has been an important part of the Rays franchise and the winning tradition we have established during his Rays career," Sternberg wrote. "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."
Now that the non-waiver Trade Deadline has passed, deals involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players have cleared waivers. A player exposed to waivers can be claimed by any team and -- if there are multiple claims -- the player would be offered to the team with the lesser record.
At that point, a team has 48 hours to either try to work out a trade with the claiming club or remove the player from waivers. A player can only be pulled back from waivers once, but if he clears waivers either the first or a second time through, a team can attempt to trade him to any club.
Price, who is 11-8 with a 3.11 ERA in 23 starts this season, won the 2012 American League Cy Young Award after going 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA. Price finished second to Felix Hernandez in the AL Cy Young voting in '10, when he went 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA.
Executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman called the move an "extremely difficult decision" noting it was a tough one to make personally as well.
"At the end of the day we felt like it was in the best interest of the organization going forward," Friedman said. "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."
Nobody in the Rays family is happy about Price's departure, but they know the show much go on. Evan Longoria took to Twitter to thank Price and welcome his new teammates.
All I can say is...Thank you @DAVIDprice14 for all the wins and memories. Your character is unmatched.- Evan Longoria (@Evan3Longoria) July 31, 2014
Price's current contract pays him $14 million, and he will be arbitration-eligible prior to the 2015 season -- which should earn him between $18 million to $22 million before he becomes a free agent prior to '16.
At Vanderbilt University, Price dominated in 2007 to win virtually every major college award, highlighted by the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur player in the country and the Dick Howser Award as college baseball's most outstanding player.
The Rays selected Price with the top pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. He joined the big league club for the first time at the end of the '08 season and pitched in the bullpen during Tampa Bay's run to the World Series. Included in his bullpen work was a save when the Rays defeated the Red Sox, 3-1, in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.
After starting the 2009 season in the Minor Leagues, Price finished the year with the Rays, compiling a 10-7 mark with a 4.42 ERA in his rookie campaign.
Price's 3.18 ERA makes him the Rays' all-time leader (minimum 300 innings pitched). In addition, he ranks second in wins (82), starts (170), innings pitched (1,143 2/3), strikeouts (1,065), and complete games (10).
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.