Tigers’ Justin Verlander can’t be counted out yet – Kurt Mensching, Detroit News
A pitcher allowing more than five runs per nine innings doesn’t usually elicit the “ace” label, but it’s been an unusual kind of year for Justin Verlander, hasn’t it?
At one point it would have been laughable to consider Verlander as the second-best starter on his own team, let alone the fifth best. Yet statistically or honestly, that’s where he finds himself now: behind Max Scherzer, David Price, Anibal Sanchez and — yes — Rick Porcello.
That’s why the suggestion has risen that Verlander should sit in the bullpen when the playoffs start in October, while the other starters make up the playoff rotation.
It’s too early for that kind of talk.
Justin Verlander is now, admittedly, not at 1005, and it’s been obvious. Of course, in his last start, he threw down his best performance in months, and looks to be getting stronger every start. It’s way too early to set the bullpen for the playoffs, but I find it hard to believe Verlander will be there
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The window is closing, and while Dave Dombrowski is fully capable of keeping it wedged open for a few more years with some astute moves and the support of Mike Ilitch’s pocketbook, Cabrera, Verlander, and Victor Martinez aren’t getting any younger and Scherzer’s gone after this season. The farm system is in awful shape, but at this point, given the moves they’ve made and the position they’re in, there’s little use in clinging to mid-tier prospects like Willy Adames when you can use them to make a clear upgrade. The Tigers are a better team now than they were yesterday, and Dombrowski deserves piles of credit for turning what’s left of his farm system into a legitimate ace in David Price and an excellent reliever in Joakim Soria (and mark my words, Soria will come good).
Seriously, do we grasp how good David Price is? He throws mid-90s from the left side, he eats innings, he doesn’t walk many at all, he gets strikeouts, and his WHIP is under 1.1. The only knock is that he’s been a bit homer prone this year but that’s out of the ordinary for him. He’s an unquestioned ace.
The Tigers are all-in for 2014. Their bullpen is still a huge concern, but they’ll be hoping their rotation can put them in a position where it won’t matter that much.
There isn’t much to suggest that the Tigers are in win-now mode. Dombrowski may have actually used those words in his presser about the Price trade.