Jacob Turner, the Tigers top pitching prospect entered spring training with a chance to become the fifth starter. A bout with shoulder tendinitis derailed that, however. Over the weekend Jim Leyland said that he still had a “slight chance” to win the fifth starter’s job, but that’s all over now, as the Tigers have optioned Turner to Toledo.
Sad for folks who get super duper excited about young pitching prospects (I’m kinda one, I’ll admit), but this is a good mood. Dude is 20. He looked great in double-A and triple-A last year, posting a 3.44 ERA and a 110/35 K/BB ratio in 131 innings. He was blown up in a late season callup to Detroit, however, and it would probably do him well to kick of the year with success than with a shellacking or two that me might expect as he gets his MLB legs.
Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.
Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.
The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.
In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.