8/1/2014 7:24 P.M. ET
Carrera gets opportunity due to Jackson trade
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Which is the real Ezequiel Carrera?
Is it the Minor League free-agent find who nearly made the Tigers' roster out of Spring Training, made multiple highlight catches and tore up International League pitching all season for a .307 average, .809 OPS and 43 stolen bases?
Is it the former Indians prospect who struggled through parts of two seasons in Cleveland -- he owns a .251 average (92-for-366), .306 on-base percentage and .644 OPS for his three-year Major League career -- and once reportedly lost a ball in the sun while his sunglasses were perched on his cap?
The Tigers, with a void in center field after trading Austin Jackson to Seattle, are about to find out about the 27-year-old Carrera, though Rajai Davis earned the first start in center in the post-Jackson era Friday night against Rockies left-hander Franklin Morales.
Manager Brad Ausmus hesitated to say he'd use Davis, who was a center fielder coming up through the minors, and Carrera in a strict lefty-righty platoon. How Davis -- a .250 hitter off righties this year compared to .373 off lefties -- performs could have a large impact on Carrera's playing time, Ausmus said.
Even if Davis earns the bulk of the time, the Tigers will be looking for something out of Carrera, a left-handed hitter who batted .315 with a .401 on-base percentage against Triple-A right-handers this season. Anything like what he did in Spring Training would work well.
"He was originally talked about in Spring Training, possibly making the team," Ausmus said. "And then there was the situation where we were debating at the time we called up J.D. Martinez, whether to call Carrera up instead, the reason being we needed a left-handed bat. But we decided we needed a little bit of thump."
Carrera, for his part, was not as happy with his camp, saying he didn't have a good spring and tried to refocus in Toledo.
Either way, he fared well. Once Martinez heated up to go with Davis, Jackson and Torii Hunter, "there just wasn't a spot for him," Ausmus said.
Davis and Carrera have similar styles, making things happen with their speed. The key to holding down center field is for their instincts to serve them as well.
"Jackson's a very good center fielder," Ausmus said. "I think you'll be surprised how good Carrera is in center field when he's there. We lost a little bit defensively probably, overall, and a little bit offensively, especially the way Jackson's swinging the bat. But you don't get something for nothing, and you certainly don't get David Price for nothing."
For now, the plan for Davis and Carrera is to bat them up top, with Ian Kinsler batting second and Hunter staying in the middle of the lineup.
Tigers adding lefty reliever via trade is unlikely
DETROIT -- Lost in the wow factor of the Tigers' rotation in the wake of the David Price trade was the lack of movement in the bullpen. The lefty arm they acquired was a starter, but the bullpen stayed the same.
Though the Tigers could pull off a trade in August, they'd have to pass a player through waivers to do it. Unless a player has a large long-term contract -- and no lefty relievers do -- most players get claimed. Even D-backs lefty Oliver Perez's two-year, $4.25 million contract, while lucrative, isn't backbreaking for most clubs.
Thus, the lefties the Tigers have in their system now are most likely the lefties they'll have for October. That includes veteran postseason performer Phil Coke, who has shown flashes of his old form this summer but is still seeking consistency, and curveballer Blaine Hardy.
"We'll just kind of let it play out and see where we're at," pitching coach Jeff Jones said.
The Tigers did make a bullpen move at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, but it wasn't a trade. Detroit moved Patrick McCoy off the 15-day disabled list and optioned Ian Krol, their primary lefty early in the season, back to Triple-A Toledo.
Krol, owner of the best pitches among the lefty relief options, is expected to make his way back. He needs regular work to do it, and after ranking among the league leaders in appearances for nearly three months, he hasn't been getting it lately.
"He needs to pitch," Jones said of Krol. "Since he came back from the shoulder situation, he hasn't thrown that much. We want him to get down there and pitch, get comfortable again, just use all of his pitches down there. Hopefully he'll go down there and pitch well and get a chance to come back."
Price set to arrive in Detroit on Saturday
DETROIT -- David Price spent Friday getting ready for his big move, and he is expected to arrive at Comerica Park on Saturday. Those Tigers who have talked to him are sensing anticipation about it.
"He seemed excited," said manager Brad Ausmus, who along with team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski talked with Price on the phone for about five minutes. "We both got the same sentiment, that he's excited, and he knows about the fans and the energy at the games."
The Tigers haven't released their list of probable pitchers for next week, but Price is expected to slot into Drew Smyly's old rotation spot. That would put him on track to start Tuesday against the Yankees in New York, in between Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander in the pitching order.
Price's first start in Detroit wearing a Tigers uniform is going to have to wait. The Yankees series starts a three-city, nine-game road trip, putting Price on track to make his second Tigers start against the Blue Jays next weekend in Toronto. His start after that would be at Comerica Park against the Mariners -- including, most likely, Austin Jackson, one of the players the Tigers traded to get Price.
Verlander: A's making moves to win World Series
DETROIT -- The Jon Lester and David Price trades, made hours apart, were bound to bring up Justin Verlander's reaction to the A's trade for Jeff Samardzija earlier in the summer. Verlander, however, tried to downplay it Thursday.
"I think that got taken out of context a bit," Verlander said. "Obviously, the A's are making moves to win the World Series, not to get past us, which is what happened the past couple years. We were the team that they didn't quite get by.
"Obviously, I don't think they're sitting there saying, 'We need to make this move to beat the Tigers.' And I don't think it's vice versa. They made their big moves, and we made our move. This might have been something that's been on the horizon for a while for us. But I can tell you that it was an exciting day of Trade Deadline baseball."
Still, the anticipation of a potential A's-Tigers postseason matchup was hard to ignore.
"They made a trade that they think bests our chances of winning the World Series," Verlander said. "We've knocked on the door a few times and unfortunately come up short. Hopefully this year's the year."