Miller Park flooded

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In the past, when snow, storms and floods have made baseball an
impossible task someplace, Miller Park in Milwaukee has pinch-hit as
the “home” park for the affected team. Now, it seems, it may need a pinch-hitter of its own:

Miller Park sustained significant flooding after a band of severe
storms slammed Milwaukee late Wednesday night and early Thursday
morning, and crews have worked around the clock since then to clean up
the mess and replace damaged carpet, drywall and furniture . . . The
key concern on Sunday afternoon was the electrical system. As the
Brewers were playing the final innings of their 3-2 loss in Detroit,
power was just being restored at Miller Park, substation by substation.

Water rose knee-high in several areas of the ballpark’s service
level, which includes office and storage space for the Brewers,
Sportservice and the sheriff’s department. It was only ankle-deep in
the main areas of the clubhouse, according to a team spokesperson,
sparing the equipment left behind in the players’ lockers . . . “I’d
say it’s functional, but not normal,” Brewers assistant general manager
Gord Ash said. “It’s a big deal, and it’s probably going to be a period
of time before it’s taken care of.”

The immediately affected series is against the Twins. Sense would
dictate that it be shifted to Minnesota. It’s close, it will be empty,
and there’s no chance whatsoever of a rainout. I’m sure some Brewer
fans would complain about losing a couple of home games, but it seems
like it would be well worth it if it gave crews a little more time to
fix all of the damage.

Rival Executives Expect Justin Verlander To Hit The Trading Block

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About a month ago, a report circulated that if the Detroit Tigers weren’t above .500 by the end of June, they were going to chuck the season, look to trade off veterans and rebuild. It’s now June 29 and the Tigers are 34-42 and sit six games out of first place.

As such, we should not be too terribly surprised to see a report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo that multiple baseball executives expect Tigers ace Justin Verlander to hit the trade market sometime in the next two weeks. Passan notes that the Tigers haven’t formally offered him and that he’s just passing along speculation from rivals, but it’s pretty astute speculation.

The question is what the Tigers can get for Verlander. On the one hand, yes, Verlander is Verlander and has been one of the top starters in baseball for a decade. While he had struggled for a bit, last year featured a return to Cy Young form. He still has a blazing fastball and there is no reason to think he could not anchor the staff of a playoff caliber team.

On the other hand, as Passan notes, his 2017 has been . . . not so good. He looks amazing at times and very hittable at other times. Overall his walk rate is way up and his strikeout rate is down. There doesn’t appear to be anything physically wrong with him — various ailments contributed to his 2014-15 swoon — so it’s possible he’s just had a rough couple of months. Like I said, Verlander is Verlander, and it may not be a bad gamble to expect him to run off a string of dominant starts like he has so many times in the past.

The problem, though, is that anyone acquiring Verlander is not just gambling on a handful of starts down the stretch. They’re gambling on the $56 million he’s owed between 2018 and 2019 and the $22 million extra he’ll be guaranteed for 2020 if he finishes in the top five in Cy Young voting in 2019. Those would be his age 35, 36 and 37 seasons. There are certainly worse gambles in baseball, but it’s a gamble all the same.

If the Tigers don’t find any gamblers out there on the market, they’re going to have to make a gamble of their own: let Verlander go and get relatively little in return if another club picks up that $56 million commitment or eat it themselves and get prospects back in return to help kickstart a rebuild. Personally I’d go with the latter option, but I don’t work for the Illitch family.

 

There is a Tyler glut in baseball

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It’s a slow news morning — Miguel Montero is gone and everyone else is quiet — so you should go read Tyler Kepner’s latest column over at the New York Times. It’s, appropriately, about Tylers.

There are a lot of them in baseball now, Tyler notes. No Larrys and hardly any Eddies or Bobs. This obviously tracks the prevalence of the name Tyler in the population at large and the declines in Larrys, Eddies and Bobs. It’s the kind of thing I imagine we’ve all noticed from time to time, and it’s fun to do it in baseball. For his part, Kepner tries to make an all-Tyler All-Star team. The results are sort of sad.

There are always one or two Craigs floating around baseball from time to time, but not many more than that. We got a Hall of Famer recently, so that’s pretty nice. There will likely be fewer over time, as Craig — never even a top-30 name in popularity — is now near historic lows. I’m not complaining, though. I never once had to go by “Craig C.” in class to differentiate myself from other Craigs. Our biggest problem is being called Greg. We tend to let it pass. Craigs are used to it by now.