The leadoff men are the stars so far in Game 1.
Tigers ace Justin Verlander allowed a solo homer to Coco Crisp in the very top of the first inning, then issued a one-out walk to Yoenis Cespedes before escaping the frame with back-to-back strikeouts of Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick. Verlander is no stranger to high pitch counts, but he needed 26 tosses to get the first three outs of the evening.
In the bottom of the first, the Tigers’ Austin Jackson opened with a double off A’s starter Jarrod Parker then scored from third base when MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera hit into a double play following a Quintin Berry infield single.
Parker threw 17 pitches. The score is 1-1 as this ALDS opener moves to the second inning.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that the San Francisco Giants “have keen interest” in Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.
Longoria is coming off his worst season as a major leaguer, having hit .261/.313/.424 with 20 homers in 2017. He’s also still owed $86 million through 2022. Which, back when the deal was signed seemed like quite a bargain for the Rays — and likely has been over the duration of the contract — but now seems somewhat steep for the 32 year-old third baseman. That said, the Giants currently have Pablo Sandoval penciled in at third base on their depth chart, so Longoria would definitely be an upgrade, even if 2017’s dip wasn’t just a blip.
Nightengale says that for the Giants to take on Longoria, the Rays would have to take on a high salary veteran such as Denard Span or Hunter Pence. Span is owed $9 million in 2018, with a $4 million buyout on a $12 million option for 2019. Pence is owed $18.5 million in 2018 in the final year of his contract and has a full no-trade clause.
If he stays with the Rays, Longoria will achieve 10-5 rights — full no-trade protection due to being a ten-year veteran with five years of service on the same club — so if the Rays are going to move him, it’ll be much easier this offseason, not once the 2018 season begins.