Girardi on trade-target Price: 'He's an ace'

Yankees are expected to be among teams attempting to acquire Tigers lefty

Girardi on trade-target Price: 'He's an ace'

ARLINGTON -- David Price once said that he viewed the Yankees' long-standing policy on facial hair as "old-school baseball" that he did not want to be a part of. He later softened that stance, and with the Tigers ready to reboot their roster, the left-hander's words could soon be put to the test.

Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski confirmed on Wednesday that the club is looking at trading their pending free agents heading into Friday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Yankees are expected to be one of several teams with interest in Price.

"He's an ace, that's what he is," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said on Wednesday. "And he's been an ace for a long time. He's been durable and he takes the ball every fifth day. We'll see what happens. I know people say sometimes players are available, but sometimes it doesn't work out, either. We'll have to wait and see."

The Yankees have been telling clubs that their four top prospects -- right-hander Luis Severino, outfielder Aaron Judge, first baseman Greg Bird and shortstop Jorge Mateo -- are not available, which stalled any discussions for the Phillies' Cole Hamels.

Price is a free agent after the season, so the Yankees may attempt to strike a deal without including those players. Infielder Rob Refsnyder, catcher Gary Sanchez and third baseman Eric Jagielo are ranked as the Yankees' No. 6-8 prospects by MLBPipeline.com.

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They could be dangled as trade bait for the Tigers, who are interested in close-to-ready prospects or young controllable players, particularly pitchers and outfielders. General manager Brian Cashman and Dombrowski have been frequent trade partners over the years.

"We'll only make a trade if we think it makes sense for us," Dombrowski said at Tropicana Field. "But it gives us a chance to maybe restock our club [after] some of the prospects that we traded away. [We can] get some people that will help us reboot and take it from there."

Price, 29, is 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA in 21 starts for Detroit this season. He is no stranger to the American League East, having headlined the Rays' rotation for several years, and is making $19.75 million this year.

The Yankees would love to add a strong pitcher to a rotation that carries some concerns with Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia, among others.

"He's been a guy that has been moved a couple times, and obviously when you're a pitcher of that caliber, there's a lot expected of you," Girardi said. "We've seen it in the past, sometimes they've been called hired guns, things like that. But he's an outstanding pitcher and human being. It's interesting to follow, and as we near Friday, we're going to know in the next 48 hours if he remains a Tiger."

As for the facial-hair issue, Price did say in February 2013 that he would not sign a long-term deal with the Yankees because of the team's policy on facial hair below the lip. He still loves his beard, but backed off that stance last July, saying he would grab a razor if traded to the Yanks.

"I would have to," Price told the New York Daily News. "As much as I wouldn't want to, I abide by team rules. I'm not that guy."

The Dodgers, Giants, Astros, Cubs and Blue Jays have been speculated among the other clubs who could make a run at Price.

"I think he's going to make a difference wherever he goes," Girardi said.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.