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Rich get richer: Price traded to Tigers

DETROIT (AP) When David Price was finally traded, it was to an unexpected bidder. The Detroit Tigers added another Cy Young Award winner to their star-studded rotation, acquiring Price from Tampa Bay in a blockbuster deal Thursday. The Rays received left-hander Drew Smyly and minor league infielder Willy Adames from the Tigers. Tampa Bay also got infielder Nick Franklin from Seattle, with Detroit outfielder Austin Jackson going to the Mariners. The AL Central-leading Tigers are trying for their fourth consecutive division title, and their starting rotation was already a strength. General manager Dave Dombrowski decided to trade for Price anyway, giving Detroit a collection of stars on the mound that could be tough to match in any postseason series. "The question that we asked ourselves is: What gives us the best chance of winning the world championship this year?" Dombrowski said. "We thought adding him to our rotation at this point would give us the best chance to do that." The deal came just hours after the Oakland Athletics got an ace of their own, Jon Lester from the Boston Red Sox Price joins Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander in the Detroit rotation, giving the Tigers the last three American League Cy Young winners. The Tigers are the first team with three pitchers on the staff who have all won Cy Young Awards over the previous three seasons, according to STATS. "Today it's great, it's nice, it's fine. I love to have David Price," Dombrowski said. "If we win, then I'll be very satisfied." Jackson was removed from Detroit's game against the Chicago White Sox with one out in the top of the seventh inning. As he jogged in from center field, he got a nice hand from the home fans, many of whom no doubt understood the significance of the substitution moments before the trade deadline. Price's departure became a clear possibility when the Rays fell way behind in the AL East race earlier this season. Tampa Bay has played much better over the last month and entered Thursday only 5 1/2 games behind a wild card - but the Rays decided to deal their ace anyway. "Compared to the other possibilities, it was by far the most prudent thing that we could do for the best interests of the franchise," said Andrew Friedman, Tampa Bay's vice president of baseball operations. "If you look ahead to next year, it would have been really challenging to be as good as we want to be within our situation, with David taking up that meaningful of a percentage of our payroll. So everything we do is in the vein of how to be competitive in the near term and also the long term." Tweeted Rays manager Joe Maddon: "No fun losing a David Price. Hate it. But we have to do what is best for our group. Continue to move it forward and that's what we've done." Tampa Bay signed Price to a $14 million deal for this season, avoiding arbitration, but he isn't eligible for free agency until after next season. That means Detroit's rotation - which also includes Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello - should be impressive in 2015 even if Scherzer leaves via free agency this offseason. "We're trying to win this year, but we do have David Price for next year," Dombrowski said. "That's helpful." The Tigers are without a World Series championship since 1984. Last season's team lost to Boston in the AL championship series. Detroit had to give up quite a bit to get Price. Smyly actually started Thursday's game and pitched five innings. The 25-year-old left-hander is 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA this season. Smyly said he found out about the trade on social media, and Dombrowski came in and told him soon thereafter. "Didn't see it coming," he said. "These guys are awesome. We have a great team, a winning team. So it's hard to say goodbye, but it's part of baseball. Happens to everybody." Jackson is hitting .273 and has been Detroit's regular center fielder throughout this run of division titles. The 23-year-old Franklin hit .294 in 75 games this season with Triple-A Tacoma. He appeared in 17 games with the Mariners, hitting .128. "It's not waving a white flag at all," Rays president Matt Silverman said. "If your team plays to the level that it can, especially considering all the head-to-head games we have within our division, we have a chance to make up the deficit and get into the playoffs. It's more difficult without David, but if the rest of the team plays up to their potential, we're going to be playing meaningful games in September." With a lineup anchored by Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Ian Kinsler - and that remarkable rotation - Detroit has remained in first place for almost all of 2014. The Tigers tried to shore up one trouble spot - the bullpen - by trading for Joakim Soria last week. Now Detroit has emerged with Price in another bold move aimed at bringing a championship to the Motor City. "I don't know if we're going to win by any means - there's other good clubs," Dombrowski said. "But getting the opportunity to add a guy like David Price doesn't come along very often."

Fri, 01 Aug 2014 00:23:00 +0000
Lynch ends holdout, arrives at Seahawks camp

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Marshawn Lynch's holdout is over, ending one distraction so far for the Super Bowl champions. Lynch arrived at the Seattle Seahawks practice facility on Thursday afternoon following the team's morning practice. The team confirmed Lynch had reported for camp, ending a holdout that spanned a week. Lynch was caught by television cameras talking on his phone out near the Seahawks practice fields wearing a hooded "Beast Mode" sweatshirt and knit cap on an 85 degree day. He was later hanging out in the lobby of the facility. ESPN reported earlier Thursday that Lynch was expected to end his holdout. Seattle coach Pete Carroll said after practice that he did not know if Lynch was on the verge of reporting. "Hopefully he's here," quarterback Russell Wilson said after practice. "He's such a good football player we would love to have him here and he's done a tremendous job for us since I've been here. I know that. He's had some unbelievable runs for us." Lynch must still pass his physical and be added to the active roster. Seattle's roster is currently at the 90-man limit. Lynch missed the first week of training camp unhappy with his contract status. Lynch is scheduled to make up to $5.5 million this season in base pay and roster bonuses. It's the third year of a four-year deal Lynch signed before the 2012 season. Seattle made clear on the first day of training camp that it had a plan in place before Lynch signed his extension and it was not inclined to stray from those plans. "We've had a substantial plan working for us for years now and Marshawn was a big part of this plan," Carroll said on the opening day of camp. "Just a couple of years back we made a big statement and made a big effort for him and we wish that he was with us now." The dispute was building throughout the offseason with Lynch staying away from organized team activities and rumors that he would skip June's mandatory minicamp in protest of his contract structure. Lynch showed up for the minicamp in June to avoid a hefty fine. But he finally decided to make a stand with the start of training camp. He could be fined by the team $30,000 per day for each day of camp missed, plus a percentage of his prorated signing bonus. Lynch has been the workhorse for Seattle's offense since his arrival via trade during the 2010 season. Lynch has 1,066 carries for 4,624 yards and 41 touchdowns in the regular season since joining the Seahawks. With Lynch away, the Seahawks have let Robert Turbin and Christine Michael get the bulk of carries during camp. That was already going to be the case during the preseason with Seattle wanting to keep Lynch healthy for the regular season opener against Green Bay. Both Turbin and Michael have been impressive thus far with Lynch gone. "The more guys that we have the better," Wilson said. "To have a guy like Marshawn Lynch ... is a good thing. We definitely want him on our team for sure." NOTES: The United States Marine Corps conducted a demonstration after practice on Thursday that featured helicopters flying over the facility and dropping Marines into Lake Washington before coming ashore on the practice field next to the water. There was large contingent of military from all branches in attendance at Thursday's practice. ... Carroll said DT Jesse Williams has a "significant" knee injury suffered in practice on Wednesday and may require surgery. ... Seattle placed TE Anthony McCoy (Achilles) on injured reserve and signed WR Ronald Johnson. ... Rookie DE Cassius Marsh sat out Thursday practice with a sore groin muscle. Carroll said they believe it's minor, but don't want it to get any worse. --- Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fri, 01 Aug 2014 03:54:00 +0000
A's get Lester, Gomes from Red Sox for Cespedes

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Billy Beane considers Jon Lester a proven ace who can carry a pitching staff through the playoffs, just like he did last fall. The general manager acquired Lester to make sure Oakland gets there first. The baseball-leading, small-budget A's won the mighty Lester sweepstakes Thursday, acquiring the left-hander and outfielder Jonny Gomes from the Boston Red Sox for slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. "Once again players like this really don't come along too often," Beane said. "When you get a guy who's a legitimate No. 1 starter in the middle of the season and we currently sit in first place, we're excited. ... There's no looking ahead. The way the playoff system is now, you want to win the division." Oakland, with the best record in baseball at 66-41, also received cash from Boston in another blockbuster deal by Beane. The Red Sox also receive a draft pick. "I believe that the deliberations leading to the two trades we did today were deeply analyzed, thoughtful and value-added," A's owner Lew Wolff said in an email. "The best trades are when all parties have potential benefits, and what Billy accomplished is an example of such a win-win. The calls I have received from other owners were very complimentary." Lester is 10-7 with a career-best 2.52 ERA in 21 starts in another outstanding season. He has allowed seven earned runs in his last eight games with 54 strikeouts and nine walks. But the Red Sox put him on the trading block because he can become a free agent after the season - and Beane isn't ready to commit to re-signing the lefty. Lester, 30, was sought by many teams, including Pittsburgh and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The three-time All-Star originally was scheduled to start Wednesday night for the slumping Red Sox, who instead scratched Lester ahead of Thursday's non-waiver trade deadline. After winning their third World Series in 10 seasons last year, with Lester getting two of the four wins with a 0.59 ERA against St. Louis, the Red Sox are last in the AL East with a 48-60 record. They had Thursday off after losing for the eighth time in nine games to drop 13 games behind first-place Baltimore. While the Red Sox look to next season, the A's are determined to take the next step after losing in each of the past two Octobers in five-game division series to Detroit. Oakland was off Thursday before returning home to begin a weekend series with Kansas City on Friday night. Lester is scheduled to start Saturday's game against the Royals. "Well I am awake," Friday starter Sonny Gray posted on Twitter when the trade news broke early Thursday. Oakland later sent lefty Tommy Milone to the Twins for outfielder Sam Fuld, who will help fill a void in center field with Coco Crisp and Craig Gentry sidelined. Beane believes in starting pitching depth, and the A's sure have it. Lester joins Gray (12-3), Scott Kazmir (12-3) and recently acquired Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, obtained in a July 4 trade with the Chicago Cubs. Gomes, a fan favorite who grew up in nearby Petaluma, provides a veteran presence who was invaluable during the A's run to the AL West title in 2012. He also was a respected clubhouse leader in Boston, which signed him as a free agent before last season. He is hitting .234 with six homers and 32 RBIs in 78 games. For Boston, this marks another big move of a starting pitcher to the Bay Area after Jake Peavy was traded to San Francisco on Saturday for two pitching prospects. The Red Sox traded John Lackey to St. Louis later Thursday. The 28-year-old Cespedes won the past two Home Run Derby titles at the All-Star game. The Cuban left fielder is in the third season of a $36 million, four-year contract he signed before spring training 2012. Cespedes is batting .256 with 17 homers and 67 RBIs. "He's a tremendous talent, we've had a tremendous amount of success since he's been here," Beane said. "It is difficult. But if you're going to separate yourself from everybody else and try to get a player like Lester, you have to do something that's unique." Speculation had centered on the Red Sox seeking prospects to add to their already deep farm system. That would have given them more young players to use in another deal for an established player, possibly a power-hitting outfielder. They got that in Cespedes, whose 17 homers is the exact number hit this season by the nine Red Sox players who spent time in the outfield. And Gomes' six were the most. Lester has said leaving the Red Sox doesn't rule out a return to the team next season. He had said he would take a hometown discount to stay in Boston, but the team's four-year, $70 million offer in spring training fell far short of what he could get on the open market. Lester leaves his only pro baseball organization. The Red Sox drafted him in the second round in 2002. He made his major league debut June 10, 2006, and got a no-decision in a 7-4 loss to Texas. In his nine major league seasons, Lester is 110-63 with a 3.64 ERA. He's also a proven postseason star with a 3-0 record in his two World Series. He pitched 5 2-3 shutout innings against the Colorado Rockies in the clinching fourth game in 2007. "In Lester's case, we're also dealing with a guy who's one of the best at his position in the game," Beane said, "and has been for a long time. It was just too good an opportunity to pass up." --- AP Sports Writer Howard Ulman in Boston contributed to this report.

Fri, 01 Aug 2014 02:17:00 +0000
Lackey goes from Red Sox to Cards for Kelly, Craig

BOSTON (AP) The Boston Red Sox traded right-hander John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-hander Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig before Thursday's deadline. The deal leaves the Red Sox without their top two starters. Both teams announced the move a few hours after the struggling Red Sox said they sent their No. 1 starter, left-hander Jon Lester, to the Oakland Athletics with outfielder Jonny Gomes and cash for slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and a 2015 draft pick. The Red Sox also sent cash and minor league left-hander Cory Littrell to St. Louis. Lackey is 11-7 with a 3.60 ERA in the fourth year of a five-year, $82.5 million deal. Kelly is 2-2 with a 4.37 ERA in seven starts. He has made four starts since being activated from the disabled list on July 11. Craig is batting .237 with seven homers and 44 RBIs. Lackey has had two strong seasons since being sidelined for all of 2012 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He was 10-13 with a 3.52 ERA last year when he pitched his second World Series-clinching game, allowing one run in 6 2-3 innings in a 6-1 win over the Cardinals in Game 6. In 2002, he won Game 7 for the Anaheim Angels over the San Francisco Giants, a 4-1 victory in which he gave up one run in five innings. The Cardinals, in a tight race with the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central, had obtained right-hander Justin Masterson from the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday. "I felt good about our club before we did these deals," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said. "When you look at adding a top of the rotation starter with Lackey, getting somebody like Masterson, who has a history of eating innings, when you look at our rotation prior to this deal, sometimes our third, fourth and fifth starters were having trouble going deep in games, putting a lot of pressure on our bullpen. "I think this will help alleviate some of that." Kelly joins a Red Sox rotation with a much different look than the one that began the season. Lester, Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront all are gone. Peavy was traded to the San Francisco Giants last Saturday and Doubront was sent to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday. Only Clay Buchholz, an inconsistent right-hander, remains from the original group. The 26-year-old Kelly was 5-7 with a 3.53 ERA as a rookie in 2012 and 10-5 with a 2.69 ERA last season. He's "not a finished product but really talented," Boston general manager Ben Cherington said, "someone our scouts have liked for a long time." He said Kelly would immediately go into the rotation. Craig brings more power to a weak-hitting outfield that was bolstered by the acquisition of Cespedes. In the past two seasons, Craig totaled 35 homers and 189 RBIs, hitting .307 in 2012 and .315 in 2013. The 30-year-old Craig has been in a season-long slump after batting a major league-best .454 with runners in scoring position in 2013. He's gotten days off to help emerge from his slide with little success. He hasn't been the same since missing the last month of regular season with a left mid-foot strain but came back for the World Series, playing some designated hitter and first base. Kelly and Craig both were hurt running to first, Craig when he landed awkwardly rounding the base and Kelly injuring his hamstring sprinting to beat out a bunt. "When you think about the success this organization has had over the last three years, Joe Kelly and Allen Craig have been a major part of that," Mozeliak said. "Pulling away from that is never easy." While the Cardinals make their playoff push, the Red Sox are in last place in the AL East and looking ahead to next season. With the departure of four veteran starters, several of their top prospects should get a long look the rest of the season. --- AP Sports Writers R.B. Fallstrom in St. Louis and Bernie Wilson in San Diego contributed to this report.

Fri, 01 Aug 2014 01:12:00 +0000
Stern sees Sterling saga ending well, lauds Silver

NEW YORK -- Former Commissioner David Stern praised the NBA's handling of the Donald Sterling controversy and predicts it will "end well" for the league. Stern said his successor, Adam Silver, has been "forceful" but also "demonstrated a compassionate side" in his reaction to the racist remarks that were made by the Los Angeles Clippers owner. "He's done great. He has been forceful, he has been reflective, he has been buttoned-down and I think he has also demonstrated a compassionate side as well," Stern told The Associated Press on Wednesday during a phone interview. "So I think it's going to end well." Silver fined Sterling $2.5 million and banned him for life after the recorded comments became public. Sterling's wife, Shelly, later agreed to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for a record $2 billion, a transaction the league believes will close shortly even as Donald Sterling continues trying to fight in court. Stern retired after 30 years as commissioner in February. He will be enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame next week. During his tenure, Shelly and Donald Sterling faced allegations that they discriminated against tenants based on race in Los Angeles according to a lawsuit filed by U.S. Department of Justice in 2006. The Sterlings, who at the time owned and managed about 119 apartment buildings or 5,000 apartments throughout Los Angeles County, agreed to settle the suit for $2.725 million. Stern has remained an adviser to the league and remained in frequent contact with Silver, who worked under him since 1992. Silver was the commissioner for less than three months when TMZ released audio of Sterling's remarks. Silver handed out his punishment days later and has navigated the league as it tries to oust Sterling, who owned the Clippers franchise even before Stern became commissioner. "Adam has been a part of the fabric of every important decision and event for the last 22 years," Stern said. "He knows exactly what to do, he's done mostly everything, and he's continuing his run as being a terrific manager." Sterling still has lawsuits against Silver and the league, though his best attempt to block the sale may have slipped away when a Los Angeles judge ruled Monday that Shelly Sterling had the authority to sell the team. That's a relief to players, some of whom have said they wouldn't want to play if Sterling is still in the league. New Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said the response to Sterling would likely be on the list of things she would discuss with the players, whose president, Chris Paul, plays for the Clippers. Interim CEO Dick Parsons testified that coach Doc Rivers said he would not return if Sterling did. "Coach Rivers and Chris Paul and those guys made their statement in what they would do if he was back as an owner. It's very tough to play for someone like that, that came out with a statement," said Washington Wizards guard John Wall, who is trying to make the U.S. national team. --- AP freelance writer W.G. Ramirez in Las Vegas contributed to this report. --- Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Briancmahoney

Thu, 31 Jul 2014 00:47:00 +0000

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