Max Scherzer was optioned to Triple-A Toledo last weekend after opening the season with a 1-4 record, a 7.29 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP through his first eight starts. The demotion was understandable, given the Tigers’ presence near the top of the AL Central standings, but it looks like he won’t be in the minors for long.
According to Tom Gage of the Detroit News, Scherzer, 25, fired eight shutout innings Thursday in his first start for the Toledo MudHens, fanning 10 batters and allowing just one hit. He threw 67 of his 103 pitches for strikes and topped out at 97 MPH with his fastball.
The Tigers obviously won’t rush Scherzer back because of the way he pitched over the regular season’s first six weeks. But one or two more starts like tonight’s and he’ll be right back in Detroit.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.
Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.
The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.
The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.