Whether you buy the rumors of a possible Curtis Granderson trade or not,
their most valuable asset is ace Justin Verlander. The 26-year-old workhorse was 19-9 with a 3.45 ERA in 2009, leading the majors with
35 starts, 240 innings pitched and 269 strikeouts.
While stopping short of deeming any player “untouchable,” general manager Dave Dombrowski acknowledged that he would like to keep him around for a while:
“I won’t get into that because that is best kept internal,” he said.
“But it is safe to say that we would like to have Justin in the
organization for a long time.”
Verlander is under team control for
two more seasons. He earned $3.75 million in 2009, and should see a huge raise this winter. If he stays healthy, he’ll surely sign a contract that will top the $100 million threshold. Fortunately for the Tigers, they have Dontrelle Willis, Nate Robertson, Jeremy Bonderman and possibly Magglio Ordonez coming off the books after 2010.
Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.
Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.
In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.
Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.
Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.
Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.