Kansas City tendering Luke Hochevar a contract and then paying him $4.56 million to avoid arbitration was one of the biggest head-scratchers of the offseason because … well, he’s never been any good.
And now they’re moving him to the bullpen, manager Ned Yost announced today.
Hochevar was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft, but he has a 5.39 ERA in 771 innings through age 28 and was awful last season while going 8-16 with a 5.73 ERA in 32 starts.
Not giving him another 32 starts is a good decision and there’s a chance Hochevar’s raw stuff will improve when he’s only asked to throw an inning at a time, but $4.56 million for a reliever with a 5.39 career ERA who’s never pitched out of the bullpen before is all kinds of silly.
The Tigers are expected to hire Ron Gardenhire as the team’s new manager upon completion of a contract, per Ken Rosenthal and Katie Strang of The Athletic. Gardenhire, 59, spent the 2017 season serving as the bench coach for the Diamondbacks.
Gardenhire managed the Twins for 13 seasons between 2002-14, amassing a 1,068-1,039 (.507) record in the regular season and reaching the playoffs six times.
According to Strang and Rosenthal, Gardenhire was one of 10 candidates to interview with the Tigers. Others included Alex Cora, Mike Redmond, Fredi Gonzalez, Joe McEwing, Hensley Meulens, Dave Clark, and Omar Vizquel. Apparently, GM Al Avila wanted a manager with previous major league managing experience.
The Tigers parted ways with previous manager Brad Ausmus at the end of the 2017 regular season, his fourth year at the helm.