There are all sorts of good reasons why the Toronto Blue Jays – who have acquired pitching ace David Price from the Detroit Tigers - are pulling out every possible stop to recover from a seven-game deficit in the American League East and get back to the postseason for the first time since 1993.
For one, that playoff drought is the longest in the major leagues and is hard to defend in the double wild-card era.
For another, the future makeup of the front office is very much in doubt following last winter’s dalliance with Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette and the temporary extension that kept Paul Beeston in place as club president for just this season.
It wouldn’t be particularly surprising if general manager Alex Anthopoulos and manager John Gibbons feel this might be their last hurrah after an offseason in which they traded for premier third baseman Josh Donaldson and gave catcher Russell Martin an $82 million contract.
The Jays had already made one of the statement deals of the midseason trading period when they acquired power-hitting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki earlier in the week. Price seriously ups the ante, since they reportedly are sending top pitching prospect Daniel Norris and fellow left-handers Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt to the suddenly rebuilding Tigers.
Now for the more local impact: Over the very short term, the move benefits the Orioles by lifting Price out of the Tigers rotation days before he was scheduled to face them in the finale of this weekend's four-game series at Oriole Park.
The two Blue Jays deals theoretically put pressure on Duquette to pull of a significant deal to upgrade the Orioles, who enter the Tigers series one game ahead of the Blue Jays in the AL East standings. But Duquette already has said that he is doing whatever he can to acquire help for the inconsistent Orioles offense and, perhaps, more pitching depth.
The deadline for making trades without passing players through waivers is barely a day away, so we’ll find out soon enough how, or if, the Orioles respond.