Looper at home, 'waiting for an acceptable offer'

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MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that Braden Looper “is doing all he can to stay in shape at home near Chicago, waiting for an acceptable offer” from the Dodgers (or another team, in theory).
Los Angeles was linked to Looper throughout the offseason, particularly once their other starter targets like Joel Pineiro and Jon Garland signed elsewhere, but Gurnick notes that the Dodgers are still only willing to give the veteran right-hander a minor-league deal.
Not only is Looper holding out for a guaranteed contract, he reportedly turned down an offer from the Nationals last month. All of which takes a lot of … well, let’s say courage, from a 35-year-old who had a 5.22 ERA in 194.2 innings last season while serving up a league-high 39 homers.
Looper was a full-time reliever until 2007, and since then he has a 4.75 ERA in 97 starts. In other words he’s a 35-year-old fifth starter coming off a terrible season and the Dodgers are willing to pay him as such, but Looper wants more. Good luck. Right now the Dodgers have Eric Stults, Scott Elbert, James McDonald, Charlie Haeger, Ramon Ortiz, and Russ Ortiz competing for the final rotation spot.

Dodgers, Cubs could be interested in Justin Verlander

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.

The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.

Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.

We wait see.

A 30-year-old rookie won his major league debut

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The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.

That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.

Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.