Veteran infielder Geoff Blum hasn’t formally retired from baseball, but that’s probably coming soon. Here’s MLB.com beat writer Brian McTaggart:
Geoff Blum, who played five years with the Astros in two separate stints with the club, has reached an agreement to join the club’s television broadcast team, a source has told MLB.com.
Blum is expected to be behind the microphone for about 60 games a year this year, filling the role of color analyst when Bill Brown isn’t in the booth.
Blum appeared in only 17 games — and started just five — with the Diamondbacks last season because of a serious left oblique injury.
And he hit .143 with a .336 OPS when he wasn’t on the disabled list.
The California native tallied 990 hits, 99 home runs and 479 RBI over the course of his 14-year major league career. He has big shoes to fill in Houston, where he’ll play a part in replacing fan favorite Jim Deshaies, who took a job in the Cubs’ television broadcast booth earlier this offseason. Blum is 39 years old.
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.
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.