Tigers acquire RHP Jarrod Washburn from the Mariners in exchange for LHP Luke French and LHP Mauricio Robles.
Can’t blame the Mariners for this one. Realize that they gave up a
35-year-old southpaw with a 4.02 career ERA and 43.6% career flyball
rate. He benefited greatly with the best outfield defense in the sport
this season (+14.1 UZR/150), putting up a 2.64 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 79/33
K/BB ratio in 133 innings. A quick look at his FIP (3.75) and BABIP
(.249 as opposed to a .280 career average) tell you that he was getting
more than a bit lucky this season.
Still, he’s a solid veteran who throws strikes and he should hold
down the back of the Tigers rotation. While I expect him to fall off a
bit, Comerica Park is pretty spacious too, and their outfield defense
isn’t that bad either.
This isn’t a great return for the Mariners, but the move made sense
considering Washburn was going to leave as a free agent, anyway.
Interestingly, French, who had a 3.38 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in seven games
(five starts) with the Tigers this season, has a 50% flyball rate in
the majors thus far, and a 39.7% flyball rate in parts of four seasons
in the minors. While he may have some trouble sticking as a starter in
the majors, he could have landed in a far worse situation. As for
Robles, he is just 20 years old, but boasts a 111/41 K/BB ratio in 91
1/3 innings pitched between Single-A West Michigan and High-A Lakeland
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.
Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).
Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.
Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.
Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.