Ron Roenicke: an inspiring choice for the Brewers

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Great story by Adam McCalvy at MLB.com about Ron Roenicke, who will soon take over the Brewers.  Seems that in the aftermath of Nick Adenhart’s death last year, Roenicke was instrumental in helping to pull the team together. He particularly impressed Scott Boras, Adenhart’s agent, who was in the clubhouse along with Adenhart’s father and Angels players the day everyone learned of the awful news:

“Nobody knew what to say. There was an air in the locker room of shock, bewilderment. None of the players knew if they should approach Mr. Adenhart. And Scioscia said, ‘Ron would like to say a few words.’

“Let me tell you something — I’ve met presidents, I’ve heard a lot of people speak. And the 10-minute conversation he had with the Angels that day, the eloquence of it, the depth of it, and the impact of it, it was one of the most dynamic conversations that I’ve ever heard in my life. In the most difficult situation you can be in, this man was clearly at his best, and it was natural, it was instinctive. I realized that this was a born leader.”

Baseball isn’t football, and “win one for the Gipper” speeches only go so far.  But being able to connect with others in the clubhouse — to empathize and to help them overcome mental or emotional problems, big or small, and ultimately to inspire — does seem pretty valuable. Boras and McCalvy and others quoted in the article think that Roenicke has that talent in spades.

If so, the Brewers may have made a very wise choice in their next manager.

Max Scherzer still can’t throw fastballs

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals works against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.

The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.

Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.

The Dodgers asked the Tigers about Justin Verlander this offseason

DETROIT, MI - MAY 18: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the first inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins on May 18, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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File this under “man, that would’ve been cool.” Or, if you’re a Tigers fan, file it under “man, that would’ve signaled several years of misery.” However you fall on the matter, however, know that, according to Jon Heyman, the Dodgers inquired about trading for Justin Verlander over the winter.

It never went anywhere, but it’s not like it was silliness for the Dodgers to ask. As you may recall, the Tigers were reported to be willing to listen to offers on any and all players back in November, as GM Al Avila contemplated a tear-down. That never came to pass — the Tigers had a quiet offseason and are keeping the team together to make another run at the playoffs with the Verlander/Miguel Cabrera core — but it couldn’t hurt to ask.

Verlander, who is coming off a resurgent season which saw him return to form as one of baseball’s best pitchers, has 10-5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade. He’s married to an actress/model, however, owns a home in L.A., and the Dodgers are a clear contender, so there’s a good chance he would’ve allowed such a trade to happen. Heck, dude even loves pitchers batting, so a chance to do it all the time would be right up his alley.

The bigger issue likely would’ve been Verlander’s $28 million salary. The Dodgers already pay the luxury tax so taking on that commitment would cost them more than the sticker price. And, of course, if the Tigers are going to ever give up one of the best players in franchise history, it would take the motherlode of prospects to do it.

So, no, a Verlander-to-L.A. trade wasn’t ever a strong possibility. But even the slight possibility seems exciting in hindsight. It was a boring as hell offseason.