Jonathan Herrera

Jonathan Herrera shuts the door on his season

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Well, more specifically, Jonathan Herrera shut the door on his hands, leaving him with a fractured right index finger and a damaged ligament in his left pinkie finger and bringing his 2011 campaign to a close.

Herrera, who spent most of the first two months as the Rockies’ starting second baseman, ends the year having hit .242/.313/.299 in 281 at-bats.  He got NL-only leaguers excited by stealing four bases in three games from April 10-13, only to go 0-for-4 in that category in his remaining 102 games.

And that pretty much sums up Herrera.  He’s an above average defensive second baseman, but he’s not so superb to warrant regular playing time unless he’s hitting .280-.290.  The Rockies benched him in June and had only occasionally used him since.  He did have a three-hit game on Friday, but it was his first since April 8.

The Rockies will have some decisions to make at second base this winter.  Free-agent-to-be Mark Ellis got off to an excellent start after coming over from the A’s, but he’s really cooled off since.  He’ll be 35 next year, and he only figures to get more injury prone with time.  The Rockies could let him go and have Herrera, Chris Nelson and Eric Young Jr. all battle for playing time, but while they might get lucky there, none of the trio projects as an average regular.  Nelson is back in Triple-A after hitting .231/.258/.340 in 156 at-bats for Colorado.  Young, who would be a threat to lead the league in steals if he starts 150 games, is batting .224/.323/.254 in 134 at-bats.  He’s also the weakest defender of the bunch.

Padres sign Trevor Cahill

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Trevor Cahill (53) during the seventh inning of Game 3 in baseball's National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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The Padres have signed Trevor Cahill to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

As recently as the middle of the 2015 season it looked like Cahill’s career would meet a premature end, but after being released by the Braves and signing with the Cubs in August of that season he has been a remarkably effective reliever. He has posted a 2.61 ERA in 61 games in Chicago and has posted a strikeout rate far above his career norms.

He’s not someone you necessarily want taking the hill when the leverage is high, but in San Diego the leverage won’t be all that high all that often.

Justin Verlander: “I’m too old to be part of a rebuilding process”

DETROIT, MI - JULY 20: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the eighth inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins on July 20, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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The Tigers have sent some mixed signals this winter. The offseason began with widespread reports that GM Al Avila was going to break up the team. Indeed, it was reported that he was willing to field offers for any and all players, on up to Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera.

As the offseason has unfolded, however, a rebuild has not materialized.

Avila traded away outfielder Cameron Maybin. He signed old friends Omar Infante and Alex Avila. He made the usual sorts of minor league signings every team makes to fill out the roster. Detroit still needs a center fielder and there continue to be rumors that outfielder J.D. Martinez and second baseman Ian Kinsler could be had for the right price, but it’s been pretty quiet at 2100 Woodward Avenue.

If that changes, however, and the Tigers do start to rebuild, there’s one key member of the team who doesn’t really want a part of it. From the Detroit Free Press:

Justin Verlander is 33 years and 330 days old.

He’s not that old.

But the Detroit Tigers ace right-hander – a 12-year major league veteran – is old enough in baseball years to know that he doesn’t really want to be part of a rebuilding process.

“Would it have been upsetting for me if we started trading away everybody?” he told MLB Network Radio on Friday morning. “I’m too old to be part of a rebuilding process.”

Verlander will make $28 million a year for each of the next three seasons and has a vesting option for 2020 if he finishes in the top 5 of the 2019 Cy Young vote. He had an excellent return-to-form in 2016, but his contract is still pretty big for a pitcher with his mileage, making it seem unlikely that he would be moved absent the team eating a huge portion of his salary. The same could be said for Miguel Cabrera who, despite still being one of the best hitters in baseball, is making between $28-32 million between now and 2023. A wonderful player, but an extraordinarily difficult contract to move. Both superstars have full no-trade protection as 10-5 men as well.

At the moment the rebuild does not seem to be materializing and the Tigers — as I think they should, probably — will enter 2017 aiming for the AL Central crown, not aiming at restocking their farm system.

But what will Verlander think, however, if the Tigers find themselves out of contention come May? What will he think if Ian Kinsler — a valuable player on a tradable contract — is sold off? Or Justin Upton? Or J.D. Martinez?

It’s worth watching.