At least not the opening of it.
The Reds had traditionally played the first game of the season in honor of their status as the oldest major league team. That tradition has broken down in recent years, with prime time games taking over as the real opener and even some other teams having their first pitch go off before the Reds’ on the first day with a slate of afternoon starts. But 2012 totally subordinates the Reds and makes life difficult for the events that usually surround the game.
The Reds don’t start until Friday, a full two days after the Marlins’ opener. More significantly, that’s Good Friday. Which, while not an ideal start for any team (there has been controversy about this before) is particularly tough for the Reds because Opening Day for them is usually accompanied by a big parade, the opening of a downtown market and other festivities. One who cares a lot about Good Friday can probably make room for a baseball game, but a whole day of whoopin’ it up is a bit much, it is feared.
The Reds are said to be petitioning Major League Baseball for a change here. Given that they start the season against the Marlins, however, and that since the Marlins open on Wednesday night against the Cardinals they can’t play a game on Thursday due to weird rules about one-game series, I can’t really see what baseball can do about it.
The Washington Nationals have acquired outfielder Ryan Raburn from the Chicago White Sox. Raburn had been playing at Triple-A Charlotte. He’ll be assigned to Triple-A Syracuse in the Nats organization. The Nationals will send cash or a player to be named later to the White Sox to complete the deal.
Raburn has yet to play in the majors this season. Last year he hit .220/.309/.404 with nine homers in 113 games for the Colorado Rockies. The year before that he hit an excellent .301/.393/.543 in part time play for the Indians. Over the course of his 11 year career the 36-year-old has hit .253/.317/.436, which breaks down to an OPS+ of exactly 100, which is league average. Primarily an outfielder, Raburn has played every position except shortstop and catcher in his career. He’s even pitched twice.
The Nats plans for him aren’t entirely clear, but depth it depth.
Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.
This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.
So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.
The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.