The Yankees may give Halladay a miss

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The New York Times’ Tyler Kepner thinks that the Yankees may pass up the chance to trade for Roy Halladay:

Don’t expect the Yankees to make their Halladay strategy public – why
not keep other teams guessing? – but the early prediction here is that
they will not get him. History is a guide, and though Joba Chamberlain
and Phil Hughes were not always consistent last season, they showed
progress toward becoming the aces the Yankees envision. And for a team
that wants to get younger, it would seem foolish to trade a future ace
and the few dynamic position players the Yankees have in their farm
system.

I see where Kepner is coming from: given the way they passed on Johan Santana and waited for CC Sabathia to become a free agent as opposed to trading for him, it would appear that the Yankees are no longer in sign-everything-that-moves mode. They make considered judgments and all of that. In Kepner’s words, the Yankees are not desperate and won’t act is if they are.

But Halladay is a different beast than Sabathia and Santana, right? The Yankees passed on Santana for the simple reason that they knew Sabathia would come available the next year. At the same time, they were able to wait on Sabathia because they knew they were well-positioned to sign him when he hit the market.

Contrast that with the Halladay situation: there isn’t another arm like Halladay’s that will come available next season. Unlike Sabathia, Halladay and the Blue Jays are entertaining a window in which to sign an extension prior to any trade being completed.  Upshot: If they Yankees don’t act to get Halladay now, they will not get him.

I like the idea of giving Chamberlain and Hughes a chance, and Kepner mentions that the Yankees probably need to think about getting younger. But their youth cuts both ways: younger is better, but doesn’t it also make sense to try and squeeze a couple more championships out of the Jeter-Rodriguez-Posada-Teixeira-Sabathia core?  With Halladay in the fold, they’d be favorites for that for the next 4-5 years. With Chamberlain and Hughes, there are no guarantees.

The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

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Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.

Stephen Strasburg is the Nationals’ Opening Day starter

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Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for the club on Opening Day, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. The news is hardly surprising given Max Scherzer’s questionable status this spring, though it had yet to be confirmed by the club.

Strasburg is approaching his eighth run with the club in 2017. He went 15-4 in 2016, finishing the year with a 3.60 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 in 147 2/3 innings. This will mark his fourth Opening Day assignment with the Nationals.

Scherzer, the Nationals’ Opening Day starter in both 2015 and 2016, is scheduled to make his season debut sometime during the first week of the season. The right-hander is expected to take things more slowly this spring as he finishes rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger.

The Nationals will open their season against the Marlins on April 3.