Quote of the Day: Justin Verlander would love free agency

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There was talk yesterday that Justin Verlander wants to stay a Detroit Tiger for life. I buy that. He has it pretty good there, is well-loved and every indication we’ve ever had suggests that the Tigers would be willing to pay the man what he’s due when he hits free agency following the 2014 season.

That said, he’s not afraid of free agency at all. Indeed, he sounds downright giddy at the prospect. From Jon Morosi’s story, here’s Verlander’s response when asked if he’s curious about hitting the market:

“Absolutely. I think that’d be a blast. If I have two more years like I just had, it would be pretty interesting … You know how competitive I am. It’s kind of fun thinking about having teams battle for you.”

This means very little with specific respect to where Justin Verlander will be playing after 2014. But so too do pronouncements about wanting to remain a Tiger for life, even if Tigers fans will read a lot into the latter.

It’s a business. Always has been, always will be.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.