A year ago, the Detroit Tigers were in the process of acquiring David Price to help win a fourth consecutive AL Central title.
Now, the left-hander could be making his last home start for one of 2015's most underachieving clubs Thursday against the visiting Seattle Mariners.
Though Detroit (47-47) has won two of the first three in this set, it's 10 1/2 games behind Kansas City in the division and has work to do to climb the wild-card standings. If the Tigers opt to be sellers at the July 31 trade deadline, Price (9-3, 2.32 ERA) could be available since he's eligible for free agency after this season.
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He finds himself in a similar position to last year when Tampa Bay pondered trading the 2012 Cy Young Award winner before executing a three-team, five-player deal that sent him to the Motor City last July 31.
Publicly, Price feels comfortable with the Tigers.
"Yeah, I want to win here. We have a very good team," he told MLB's official website. "This is one of the most talented baseball teams that I've ever been a part of. If we can just play baseball the way we're capable of playing, we'll win games."
Slated to start again Tuesday at Tampa, the five-time All-Star is 2-1 with an 0.82 ERA this month. He allowed a solo homer and struck out 12 in seven innings of a 3-0 home defeat to Baltimore on Saturday.
"I've been on the opposite end a couple times this year," said Price, 6-2 with a 1.59 ERA in his last 11 starts. "I've thrown the ball way worse than I threw the ball (Saturday) and I came out on top. That's baseball; that's life. Got to roll with it."
As Price continues to roll with the trade talk, he'll look to further improve on a 2-1 record and 2.53 ERA in four starts against Seattle (43-52).
The Tigers, meanwhile, will try to win consecutive games for the first time in two weeks after Ian Kinsler recorded four hits and Nick Castellanos clubbed a grand slam in Wednesday's 9-4 victory. Kinsler is 8 for 14 in the set and batting .450 in his last 10 contests.
He went 0 for 3 against Hisashi Iwakuma (2-1, 4.89) when the right-hander allowed five runs, including solo homers to Yoenis Cespedes, Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez and Castellanos, in five-plus innings of a 12-5 loss to the Tigers on July 6 in his return after missing almost three months with a right lat strain.
However, Iwakuma has gone 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA since. The only runs he yielded in those contests came on a two-run homer in 5 2-3 innings of a 4-3 win at Yankee Stadium on Saturday.
"I think all of my pitches are sharper," he said. "I'm very happy where I'm at."
Iwakuma scattered four hits through eight innings of an 8-0 victory Sept. 18, 2013, in his lone start at Comerica Park.
Victor Martinez is 5 for 9 with two homers versus Iwakuma and Cespedes is batting .407 (11 for 27) with four home runs and five doubles against him.
Nelson Cruz is batting .368 (7 for 19) with two home runs against Price and has homered three times in the last two games - matching his total from his previous 45.