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David Price's trade to the Blue Jays is more bad news for the Orioles

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher David Price speaks to the media before a game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher David Price speaks to the media before a game against the Tampa Bay Rays. (Chris O'Meara / Associated Press)

Say this for the Toronto Blue Jays: they're going for it.

Two days after acquiring Troy Tulowitzki, a hitter they didn't seem to need, the Blue Jays forked over top prospect Daniel Norris for two months of David Price, one of baseball's few unquestioned No. 1 starters.

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For a team struggling with run prevention and running out soft-tossing Mark Buehrle as its ace, Price is a large, short-term upgrade who could improve the Blue Jays by a couple wins over the next two months. That might not sound like a lot, but given how crowded the wild-card race is and how unthreatening many of the opponents seem, two wins could make all the difference.

Needless to say, the deal is more bad news for the streaking Orioles, who currently sit a game ahead of the Blue Jays.

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I'm generally not a fan of trading legitimate top prospects for a few months of return (see the pain many Orioles fans feel over Eduardo Rodriguez, no matter how good Andrew Miller was down the stretch in 2014). But I admire the Blue Jays for recognizing where they are, with a core good enough to contend this year and next and little certainty beyond that.

The Tulowitzki deal was attractive because the Blue Jays acquired a multiskilled player who should help them for several years without giving up an elite prospect. The Price trade is more akin to shooting the moon. It could look a lot worse in the long run if the Blue Jays fall short this year.

Price's talent is unquestionable. He's durable and overpowering, with a fastball that's lost little zip over the years, according to PITCHf/x data. Price has been a touch less dominant in 2015 than he was in 2014, but he's pitched at roughly his established level. And that's a level that makes him one of the dozen or so unquestioned aces in the sport.

This deal might strike some a head-scratcher, because the Tigers sit just 1 ½ games behind the Blue Jays in the standings. But the Tigers clearly decided their expensive, star-studded roster wasn't going to hit pay dirt this season. Detroit has been outscored by 34 runs this year. Toronto has outscored its opponents by 100. They're not all that comparable despite what the records say.

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Given the Tigers' legitimate mediocrity, Price's remaining two months became free money for them to play with on the trade market.  They flipped that short-term asset for a serious return in Norris, a four-pitch lefty who was ranked the No. 18 prospect in the game by both Baseball America and Keith Law headed into the season.

Smart move by them and a risky one for the Blue Jays in the long run. But Toronto won't be fun to play over the next two months.

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