ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Yankees will not sit idly by in the David Price sweepstakes, which officially began in earnest Wednesday when Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said all impending free agents on his roster, including the former Cy Young Award winner, are available.
But the question is likely the same as it's been regarding the Yankees' potential pursuit of other big names before Friday's 4 p.m. trade deadline: Which, if any, of their high-profile prospects are they willing to deal?
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To this point, sources continually have said in the lead-up to the deadline that the Yankees have not been willing to part with any of their top prospects: pitcher Luis Severino, outfielder Aaron Judge, first baseman Greg Bird, and shortstop Jorge Mateo.
That had been the major sticking point with the Phillies as they tried to move lefthander Cole Hamels, whom the Yankees had an interest. Last night, according to multiple reports, Hamels was dealt to the Rangers.
Price is probably a two-month rental, meaning, in theory, the Tigers aren't in as strong a position as the Phillies would have been to demand a big haul in return.
But Dombrowski's club is still on the periphery of the AL wild-card race, meaning he doesn't have to make a deal, either. Maybe a deal without including a top prospect is possible for the Yankees but, with the number of other teams going after Price, that's unlikely.
The Yankees are familiar with the 29-year-old Price, who is 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA this season and a longtime veteran of AL East wars. Price is 95-55 in his career with a 3.13 ERA, including 82-47 with a 3.18 ERA in seven seasons with the Rays.
Tampa Bay dealt Price to the Tigers at the trade deadline last season and the Yankees were among the teams also trying for the lefthander, who in the past has expressed an admiration for the Bombers as a franchise.
On the surface, the Yankees aren't as desperate to secure a pitcher of Price's caliber as the other teams who likely will be involved -- the Dodgers, Blue Jays and Astros, to name a few -- but one club insider said "I wouldn't count us out," regarding the sweepstakes.
The overall weakness of the American League -- with the Royals considered the team to beat, followed by, well, no one else -- could convince managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner to give GM Brian Cashman permission to approach the final hours before the deadline in a go-for-it mode.
As one opposing team executive said of Price going to the Yankees, "it makes all the sense in the world."
"He [Price] gives them stability at the top of the rotation," he said. "They don't have stability."
Speaking before Wednesday night's game, Joe Girardi wasn't going there.
"That puts me in a tough bind when you ask me questions like that," the manager said. "These guys have gotten us to this point and I don't know if we're going to do anything. I believe in the guys in that room to get the job done."
Not that Girardi avoided the topic altogether.
"He's an ace, that's what he is, and he's been an ace for a long time, and he's a guy that's been durable and takes the ball every fifth day," Girardi said of Price. "Obviously, when you're a pitcher of that caliber, there's a lot expected of you.
"And we've seen it in the past, sometimes they've been called hired guns and those sort of things, but he's an outstanding pitcher and outstanding human being . . . I think he's going to make a difference wherever he goes."