Tigers: Moves ‘sting’ but focus still on winning
Baltimore — The manager and players have a different perspective than the president of the organization — obvious truth.
While Dave Dombrowski was trumpeting the three left-handed pitching prospects he got from the Blue Jays on Thursday for ace David Price, the players and manager, though not shocked by the move, were thinking, “Man, we’re only 31/2 games out of playoff spot.”
“It’s not a fun day,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “We just traded our best pitcher. You lose a pitcher like David Price, you don’t generally think you are getting better.”
That’s why Ausmus politely declined the chance to be part of the trade meetings Wednesday night.
“I don’t want to see anyone go,” he said. “I’d be up there telling them not to do the deal. I’d be saying, ‘That’s a bad deal right there.’ ”
Not that he thinks the Tigers made a bad deal — he doesn’t think that. He, like everybody else, is excited about 22-year-old Daniel Norris, who will start Sunday.
“I saw him pitch in spring training and he’s obviously a special talent,” Ausmus said. “David is more seasoned.”
This is new territory for Ausmus. In his 18 years in the big leagues, he was never part of a team that sold off veteran players at the deadline.
“I’m sure the guys aren’t happy that we lost David Price,” he said. “Who would be? It’s going to sting for a few days.”
He’s right about that. The players were not happy.
“You have no choice but to deal with it,” Victor Martinez said. “You just do what you’ve got to do. Keep playing the game. You hate to see good players leaving. But, we’ve been in this game for a little bit now. It’s tough, but at the same time, it’s business.”
Martinez was asked if he felt like the organization was quitting on the team for this season.
“We still have a chance,” he said. “I don’t hear anybody say that word — quit. You ask me personally, I think we still have a chance. Three-and-a-half games, anything can happen.
“Obviously we’ve got to play better. We have to play better. But as long as we got a chance — keep believing.”
Ian Kinsler took a pragmatic approach.
“Not much reaction, really,” he said. “I’m in the lineup today for the Tigers. We have to win a game. There’s not much else I can do. Say goodbye and wish David all the best. Hope he pitches well.
“But there are still guys in this clubhouse that are trying to win games. That’s the only way we can take it. It’s tough to see him go.”
Kinsler was asked if the players felt a little like it was them against the world?
“Yeah,” he said. “You know, you prepare for a season, not four months. There are still two months left. We’re still in a spot where anything can happen. There are still games left to be played.
“We’re not giving up. It’s not like we’re going to go out there and not give our best effort. Guys in here are still being paid. We still have an obligation to this organization. We’re still trying to win.”
Clearly, that was the message Ausmus preached to the team.
“We’re not throwing in the towel,” he said. “Obviously it’s going to be tougher without Price, but we still have some fight left in here.”