Promoting from Within
Justin Verlander has been demonstrating over the past month that he’s overcoming the mid-career crisis that had been plaguing him. His control has been sharp and when he has command of his 90-mph changeup to team with his curve and 94 to 95-mph fastball he’s been practically unhittable. He’s also shown the ability he possessed at his best of being able to hike his fastball into the 95+ range in late innings when he needs it.
Verlander is still under contract for $28 million per season for the next four years so if he can produce like an ace again, and for that money he better, that’ll be a big weight off of Avila’s shoulders.
Anibal Sanchez has struggled but still has good stuff when he’s on and is capable of being the third starter in next year’s rotation. He’ll be under team control for another two seasons.
The candidate who appears to be most ready to step into a regular role in the rotation in 2016 is left-hander Daniel Norris. He still has command issues but his pitch arsenal is major league ready. After another spring working with Tigers’ pitching instructors he should be ready to hold down the No. 4 spot.