As we approach trade season, teams are burdened with the overwhelming task of re-evaluating the league in the wake of the crackdown on illegal substances. Broad strokes, evaluators will be more trusting of pitchers who rely on two-seamers and sinkers, writes ESPN’s Buster Olney. Unsurprisingly, those pitchers who have taken to the recent trend of high-velocity heaters up in the zone and wicked curveballs diving away will be watched more closely. The next month will obviously provide important data points for potential buyers, but looking at how players have struggled and/or succeeded in the first few months of the year will also be heavily scrutinized by teams looking to find players on the rebound. In other MLB news….
- The Cardinals are doing their best to patch together a rotation in the wake of Jack Flaherty’s extended absence, but they’re also exploring their options outside the organization. They have reached out to the Twins about Jose Berrios and the Rangers for Kyle Gibson, but the price for Berrios was “high,” and presumably, the same will be true of Gibson, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. With very few difference-making arms likely to be available, Berrios and Gibson are sure to be in high demand. President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak spoke of the Cardinals’ desire to win, but “not at the cost of our future.” While that’s a reasonable mode of thinking, such a mind-set isn’t likely to procure an arm like Berrios or Gibson.
- Justin Verlander hasn’t rule out the possibility of returning to the Detroit Tigers before his career runs out, per Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press. Of course, Verlander needs to get healthy first. He will be a free agent at the end of the season, however, free to pursue a return to Detroit, should that be his desire. Verlander played in Detroit for 13 seasons. He ranks 2nd in Tigers’ history for rWAR among pitchers, 2.7 rWAR behind Hal Newhouser. He is fifth in Tigers’ history in games started with 380 and 2nd in total strikeouts with 2,373.