Power streak increases Cespedes’ trade value

Lynn Henning
The Detroit News

St. Petersburg, Fla. — Not that he’s a mystery to big league snoops, but all those scouts on hand at Tropicana Field this week will be writing nice things to their bosses about Yoenis Cespedes.

He had two more hits Tuesday, one of them a line shot homer into the right-center field bleachers, which was one of the few proud Tigers moments in a 10-2 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field.

The two-hit, one-homer night was a match for what Cespedes had done in Monday’s 5-2 loss to the Rays.

Cespedes’ fourth-inning blast against Rays starter Jake Odorizzi was his 17th homer of the year and his third in the last four games. He has four homers in his last eight games, which gives him seven in July, matching the most he has hit in a single month since he became a big leaguer.

Factor in his speed and his Winchester-grade arm, and it is likely various big league bird dogs will push for their teams to consider a 29-year-old outfielder who is eligible for free agency in the autumn and who might be offered for sale ahead of Friday’s trade deadline.

Final act?

David Price’s final pitch Tuesday night was a 91-mph, four-seam fastball, thrown on a 3-2 count to Rays second baseman Tim Beckham. It was a called strike, finishing Beckham, and perhaps finishing Price’s career with the Tigers.

The Tigers are fixated on making the postseason, but should plans change and trades be considered ahead of Friday’s deadline, Price figures to be the trophy most sought by top-tier contenders.

“That had zero effect on tonight,” Price said, standing in front of his locker in the visitor’s clubhouse at Tropicana Field. “I take pride in what I do and I didn’t do it very well tonight.”

His numbers weren’t bad by most pitchers’ definition. But a former Cy Young Award winner had not allowed five runs in 17 starts. And because Price is typically dominating, his Tuesday outing — six innings, seven hits, five runs, four strikeouts, two walks — was out of character.

“David Price wasn’t at his best,” said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, “because if he was they wouldn’t have scored.”

Not that it will have any effect on teams and their appetite for a free agent who in October is set to hit the open market.

But those are decisions for others to make. Those are decisions Price can’t influence.

“I’ll be ready in five days,” he said, aware that it might be for a team and in a town other than Detroit.

Bad times

Since beginning the season with an 11-2 record, the Tigers are 37-50. Their loss Tuesday coupled with the White Sox’s victory over Boston plopped the Tigers into fourth place, the first time following the All-Star break the Tigers have been in fourth place since they finished 2008 with a 74-88 record.

The Tigers (48-52) are four games beneath .500 for the first time since June 15, 2012, when they were 30-34.