Just before the close of the 2014 MLB non-waiver trade deadline, the Tampa Bay Rays made a three-team deal that rocked the baseball world. David Price was moved to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for several notable players with the Seattle Mariners getting Austin Jackson.
But one name flying under the radar is Willy Adames, who heads to Tampa in the deal.
After the deal was consummated, Price said his goodbye to the Rays fans:
wow...what a day!! Rays fans THANK YOU!! Great Chapter of my life just ended...ready to start a new one with the Tigers!! Thanks again— David Price (@DAVIDprice14) July 31, 2014
Among those players, Drew Smyly might be the most MLB ready for Tampa Bay with three years of service and a 3.77 ERA as a starter this year. Nick Franklin is another prospect who has been in and out of the Mariners' lineup, but has failed to show consistency at the MLB level.
As for the third prospect out of the deal, Adames might have a bright MLB future ahead of him. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported the acquisition following the trade:
Adames is young—just 18 years old—but the shortstop has already shown flashes of brilliance in the minors. Before the trade, Adames was the No. 3 prospect in the Tigers' minor league system.
Coming out of the Dominican Republic, Adames was one of the biggest pickups during the 2012-13 international signing period. Though he has hit just .260 with seven home runs and 71 RBI during his first 158 games since 2013, Adames is still growing as a player.
Following the announcement, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports and Jeff Passan of Yahoo provide their thoughts:
Willy Adames is no mere throw-in to this trade. I spoke with rival execs in recent weeks who said Adames was the Tigers' No. 1 prospect.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 31, 2014
Willy Adames is the youngest player in the Midwest League this year and hitting .269/.346/.428 at shortstop. One of Rays' top prospects now.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 31, 2014
During the month of June, Adames showed off his potential by hitting .295 with three homers and 20 RBI. In the midst of that blistering stretch, Adames spoke about his recent play, per the West Michigan Whitecaps (via MLive.com):
I can’t explain how happy I am right now with the way I’m playing. I’m doing well and hitting better and I want to try to keep playing well to finish the season. I’m working on my approach at the plate and taking more balls. I’m having a better approach against pitchers with two strikes.
Which team got the best part of the deal?
Granted, all of these stats are at the Single-A level, but this deal looks much better with Adames' addition. Rays fans are certainly not happy to see Price go, but he was scheduled to be a free agent after his one-year contract was up.
Given his current estimated arrival date of 2017, per MLB.com, it seems like a long time to wait to see the fruits of the labor from this trade. But if he lives up to the potential he's shown scouts, the Rays will have a shortstop of the future.
After pulling off a multitude of trades over the years, the Rays have rarely ever made a bad deal. Though the price—literally—to get Adames and the other players involved was steep, the future looks bright for Tampa's middle infield.
With a plethora of young players already on the roster including Chris Archer, Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi, the Rays can play for now and build for the future. In the long run, the Rays might have traded off one superstar for another potential one.
Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.