Detroit Tigers: MLB Draft, Justin Verlander to rescue, never-ending Doug Fister drama


It’s MLB Draft Day! If that doesn’t send a tingle through your spine–well you’re far from alone. It ain’t the NFL or NBA draft, but MLB sure tries hard to make it seem so.

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They televise the event and place it in prime time, meaning many of the second round picks are selected deep into the night. It also happens in-season. The Detroit Tigers are off on Monday so their fans can turn their undivided attention to it if they choose but there will be 16 teams in action today and all 8 games will take place during the draft.

The intrigue of the football and basketball drafts is that it takes place out of season when fans are yearning for some coverage of their favorite sports. NFL and NBA draft guys that will be seen on the field or court the same season in most cases, MLB draft picks are usually buried in the minors for at least three years.

Also, many of MLB’s most prized young players are coming from overseas in international free agent signings, so the MLB Draft only tells half the story.

Sorry to be a downer here. There are many who enjoy following prospects and will enjoy the draft. It will be interesting to see how the Tigers tackle their picks. As has often been the case, up until last year when they selected Derek Hill, Detroit’s M.O. has been to go pitcher-heavy in the first round. The rationale behind that being there are not as many elite pitchers internationally, and young pitching is always a great bargaining chip in trades.

The Detroit Tigers have the 22nd pick of the first round and also have a compensatory pick after the first round (34th overall) because of the loss of Max Scherzer.

Justin Verlander was very good in his second rehab outing for Toledo. J.V. is almost certain to rejoin the rotation and pitch this weekend when the Cleveland Indians come to Comerica Park, or at the latest, next Monday at home against the Cincinnati Reds. With Shane Green and Anibal Sanchez pitching shockingly bad this year, Verlander’s success could be imperative for this team’s postseason chances.

Outside Pitch has an interesting account of how the Doug Fister trade went down and how one GM in the deal nearly quit if it was not made. The title of the article is somewhat misleading. I understand Tigers’ fans still agonize over Doug Fister’s departure from Motown, especially with the way Robbie Ray (the main piece for the deal) and Ian Krol have struggled. Ray was flipped for Greene, who has not been sharp recently.

But if you take the raw emotions away, the Tigers were in arbitration hell and would have had two more years of an escalated salary for Fister. They likely were not going to resign him because, as a free agent after this year, he would have been seeking a very large contract at the age of 32.

He has missed extensive time for the Washington Nationals in each of the last two seasons and is seeing a decrease on his fastball.

Shane Greene has shown that he can be very good at the start of this season. If he can be a solid option for Detroit for years to come (locked up through 2020) and Fister leaves Washington in free agency this off-season, it could be a slight edge on the trade for the Tigers (by flipping Ray for Greene). Time will tell, but if Fister has just 40 or so starts in two years for the Nationals, that is hardly a great deal for them.

Analysts: Tigers will take pitcher with 22nd pick in draft – George Sipple, Detroit Free Press

"As for the Tigers, ESPN baseball writer Keith Law said: “So far, I’ve only heard them with arms” for their first pick.Law has made three mock drafts. He had the Tigers selecting Louisville right-hander Kyle Funkhouser in his first mock, shortstop Cornelius Randolph of Griffin (Ga.) High in his second effort and right-hander Phil Bickford of College of Southern Nevada in his mock draft Thursday.Baseball America has had four mock drafts. It has the Tigers drafting Vanderbilt right-hander Walker Buehler in Mock 1.0, Bickford in its next two and right-hander Donny Everett of Clarksville (Tenn.) High in its most recent one, which came out May 30."

Can Verlander be fix for what ails Tigers’ rotation? They need him to be – Matthew B. Mowery

"On the whole, the starting pitching for the Tigers has been just that through the first third of the season: Relatively mediocre. Right now, the bullpen and defense — say what?? — have been more consistent than the starting pitching and offense, which were staples of the Tigers team throughout this 10-year run of contention.Right now, the Tigers rank 27th in MLB in strikeouts as a pitching staff, and are on pace for 1,048 (nearly 400 fewer than the 2013 record), their lowest team total since 2008. The rotation ranks 12th in quality starts, and 10th in innings pitched.In truth, the starting pitching was relatively mediocre for much of last season, as well, even before the free-agent defection of Max Scherzer to what’s now considered the top rotation in baseball, the Washington Nationals."

The Doug Fister trade just got even worse for Detroit Tigers fansJoe Martinez, Outside Pitch

"At the time of the trade, Dombrowski said that Robbie Ray was the key to the trade and that Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo almost did not make the trade because he did not want to give up Ray. Everyone called the trade stupid back then and it’s even stupider now because according to Barry Svrluga’s upcoming book, The Grind: Inside Baseball’s Endless Season, Rizzo threatened to resign in protest if team ownership did not approve the trade.The Tigers wanted to include reliever Phil Coke and make it a four-for-two swap in which they would have received pitching prospects Robbie Ray, Taylor Jordan, and Ian Krol along with utility man Steve Lombardozzi. The Nationals didn’t want Coke and his 5.40 ERA, and Rizzo didn’t feel like he could part with both Ray and Jordan, a pair of promising young starters. When they finally settled on a three-for-one trade — Ray, Krol, and Lombardozzi for Fister — the Lerner family, which owns the Nationals, killed the deal, wary of parting with Ray.–snip–… Rizzo had called the Tigers’ Dombrowski to tell him he couldn’t do the deal. But he did something else, too: He threatened to quit. Ownership eventually relented. The deal was back on. Ray, Krol, and Lombardozzi went to Detroit, and Fister became a National."

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