DETROIT — Toronto acquired All-Star lefthander David Price from the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, the second major move in less than a week by the Blue Jays as they chase their first postseason appearance since 1993.
After acquiring slugging shortstop Troy Tulowitzki from Colorado, the Blue Jays tried to shore up their rotation by adding Price, likely the top remaining starting pitcher on the market. Johnny Cueto was traded from Cincinnati to Kansas City and Cole Hamels is headed from Philadelphia to Texas.
The Blue Jays sent lefthanders Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd, and Jairo Labourt to the Tigers in the deal. Price can become a free agent after this season.
‘‘These types of players, the great superstar players, rarely become available,’’ Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. ‘‘We think we’re a good team and adding a guy like Price we think makes us that much stronger and will give us a chance to win. It’s as simple as that.’’
Toronto has scored more runs than any team in the major leagues but still had a .500 record heading into Thursday night’s game against the Royals. The Blue Jays trailed Minnesota by two games for the AL’s second wild card and were seven behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees.
Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson said: ‘‘You look around the clubhouse, you’re going to see a lot of All-Stars. It feels like you’re almost playing fantasy baseball.’’
Price was traded at the deadline for a second straight year. He went from Tampa Bay to Detroit in a three-team blockbuster last July — one of several bold moves the Tigers have made over the last few seasons while winning four straight AL Central titles.
Although the Tigers were only 3½ games behind a wild-card berth, they were in fourth place in their division entering Thursday’s game at Baltimore. This deal was made with an eye toward the future. Detroit could be a contender again in 2016, but the coming days, weeks and months will probably include plenty of changes.
Now it’s the Blue Jays who are making the biggest news before this week’s trade deadline. Toronto hasn’t played in the postseason since Joe Carter’s home run won the 1993 World Series against Philadelphia, the longest playoffs drought in the major leagues.
Price is 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA this season. The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner will anchor a Toronto rotation that includes Mark Buehrle and 2012 NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. The Blue Jays may not need stellar pitching down the stretch with a lineup that includes Tulowitzki, Jose Bautista, Donaldson, and Edwin Encarnacion, but Price gives them a true ace — which could come in handy if Toronto does end up in the one-game, wild-card playoff.
The Blue Jays will pay the roughly $7 million remaining on Price’s $19.75 million salary this season.
Detroit’s rotation has faltered badly after being among the game’s best in 2013 and 2014. The Tigers lost Max Scherzer to free agency last offseason, and Justin Verlander has made only eight starts this year because of injury problems. Anibal Sanchez has struggled a bit, leaving Price as the only consistently effective starter.
The 22-year-old Norris was ranked by Baseball America as the game’s 18th-best prospect earlier this month. He’s gone 3-10 with a 4.27 ERA with Triple A Buffalo this season.
Boyd, 24, split 2015 between Buffalo and Double A New Hampshire, going 9-2 with a 1.68 ERA.
Cardinals add Moss
Brandon Moss was sorry to see close friend David Murphy traded earlier this week by the Indians. Now he’s gone, too.
Moss was dealt Thursday to the St. Louis Cardinals, who were in the market for an outfielder after seven-time All-Star Matt Holliday re-injured his right quadriceps on Wednesday. In exchange for Moss, who was in his first season with the Indians, the Indians received minor league pitcher Rob Kaminsky, a first-round pick in 2013.
The Cardinals lead the NL Central by 4½ games over Pittsburgh. However, St. Louis is in an offensive funk and hasn’t scored a run in 22 consecutive innings after being blanked, 1-0, on Wednesday by the Cincinnati Reds.
And Holliday is out again with the same injury that sidelined him for 31 games earlier this season. The Cardinals will hope to get some pop from Moss, who signed a one-year, $6.5 million contract as a free agent with Cleveland during the offseason. While he did produce — 15 homers, 50 RBIs in 94 games — the Indians have fallen back in the AL wild-card race and figure they would try to get something for the 31-year-old.
Following Cleveland’s sixth straight loss on Monday night to Kansas City, Moss, who played four seasons in the NL with Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, expressed disappointment at seeing Murphy traded to the Los Angeles Angels and a season that hasn’t gone well for the Indians.
‘‘Nobody’s happy. Nobody’s enjoyed this season,’’ Moss said. ‘‘It’s just one of those things where, the more you try, the more adjustments you try to make, we’re just not making them. Whether we try to make them, whether we go up there with a different approach, everything seems to fall apart.’’
Kaminsky is another strong arm for Cleveland’s future. The 20-year-old was selected with the No. 28 overall pick two years ago and was considered one of the top prospects in the Cardinals system.
Kaminsky has spent the entire season at Single A Palm Beach, going 6-5 with a 2.09 ERA in 17 starts. He is currently leading the Florida State League in ERA and has 79 strikeouts in 94⅔ innings. In parts of three minor league seasons, Kaminsky is 14-10 with a 2.15 ERA.
Pirates add Soria
The Pirates made another move to upgrade their bullpen, acquiring righthander Joakim Soria from the Tigers for a minor leaguer. The 31-year-old Soria was 3-1 with 23 saves and a 2.85 ERA in 43 appearances with Detroit this season. He didn’t allow a run in 13 of his last 14 appearances. The deal was made a few hours after the Pirates got versatile reliever Joe Blanton from Kansas City for cash. Pittsburgh gave up infielder JaCoby Jones, a 23-year-old who was recently promoted to Double A.
The Yankees acquired utility player Dustin Ackley from the Seattle Mariners for a pair of minor leaguers. New York sent righthander Jose Ramirez and outfielder Ramon Flores to the Mariners in the deal completed a day before the non-waiver trade deadline. Ackley is hitting .215 with six home runs and 19 RBIs in 85 games for the Mariners this season.
The first-place Dodgers bolstered their pitching staff on the eve of the trade deadline, completing a 13-player deal with the Braves and Marlins that sent two starters and two relievers to the NL West leader. The Dodgers acquired righthander Mat Latos from the Marlins and lefthander Alex Wood from the Braves, two pitchers who can move right into the rotation behind aces Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. Also, Los Angeles obtained relievers Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan from Atlanta, adding needed depth to the bullpen.