The Detroit Tigers added veteran starting pitcher David Price to their rotation today in a blockbuster three-way trade with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Seattle Mariners. The Tigers get the coveted Price, with the Mariners receiving outfielder Austin Jackson. The Rays get shortstop Nick Franklin from the Mariners, plus pitcher Drew Smyly and infield prospect Willy Adames from the Tigers.
Adames is the only minor leaguer involved. Here's a report on him plus some briefer thoughts about the trade in aggregate.
Willy Adames, INF: Adames was signed by the Tigers in 2012 out of the Dominican Republic, earning a $420,000 bonus. He hit .245/.419/.370 with 56 walks and 44 strikeouts last year in 200 at-bats in the Dominican Summer League, then jumped directly to full-season ball this spring. That's a huge leap and he's more than held his own considering the circumstances, hitting .269/.346/.428 with 14 doubles, 12 triples, six homers, 39 walks and 96 strikeouts in 353 at-bats for Low-A West Michigan. Keep in mind that the Midwest League is not an easy place to hit.
Adames is a 6-1, 180 pound right-handed hitter born September 2, 1995. He has sufficient range and arms strength to remain at shortstop, and he's made good progress cutting down on errors this season. There's some concern that he may lose range as he gets older, forcing a shift to third base, but that hasn't happened yet and they can worry about that later. The bat looks very interesting. He was reportedly quite raw when signed, but he's shown a decent batting eye and has more power potential than is typical for a shortstop.
His upside is quite high, particularly on offense. Midwest League observers are very impressed with him and you can expect him to move up prospect lists this fall.
ANALYSIS: Well, they are calling it a blockbuster and they aren't far wrong, with this deal a major shakeup for all three teams both short-term and long-term.
Nick Franklin has nothing left to prove in Triple-A and I don't think there is anything wrong with him that consistent playing time won't cure. He needs a change of scenery and a fresh start and now he has it. Smyly is a competent major league starting pitcher. He's not David Price, but the complete package here looks fine to me. The chance to add a potential regular infielder in Franklin, plus Smyly, plus the highly-intriguing Adames, seems like a good haul for the Rays.
For the Mariners, a swap of Franklin for Jackson makes sense positionally, exchanging a guy who hasn't hit yet and doesn't play the positions they need for someone who does. The Tigers add a great boost for the rotation in Price, who was a Grade A prospect earlier in his career and actually became a Grade A pitcher. It does happen sometimes.
Overall, I like it for everyone.