Max Scherzer is the reigning American League Cy Young winner, but he won’t be starting for the Tigers until the second game of the season. Rookie manager Brad Ausmus has decided on Justin Verlander as the Opening Day starter.
No surprise, really. As great as Scherzer was last season–going 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and 240 strikeouts in 214 innings–Verlander has started each of the past six Opening Days for the Tigers and he’s got a Cy Young of his own from three years ago (plus a runner-up finish in 2012).
As soon as Verlander showed that he’s recovered from January surgery to repair a core muscle the choice was probably an easy one for Ausmus. And really instead of debating whether Verlander or Scherzer ought to be the one getting the ball in the season opener Tigers fans should probably just enjoy having a rotation with two Cy Young winners AND the reigning ERA champion (Anibal Sanchez) in the third spot.
By the way, last season Scherzer didn’t start for the Tigers until Game 5, following Verlander, Sanchez, Rick Porcello, and Doug Fister in the rotation.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals have signed free agent reliever Neftali Feliz, pending a physical. The Brewers designated Feliz for assignment last week and released him on Monday.
Feliz, 29, opened the season as the Brewers’ closer, but struggled and was eventually taken out of the role in mid-May, giving way to Corey Knebel. In 29 appearances spanning 27 innings with the Brewers, Feliz posted a 6.00 ERA with a 21/15 K/BB ratio.
The Royals have had bullpen issues of their own, so Feliz will try to provide some stability given his track record. It’s not clear yet if the Royals want to let Feliz get his feet wet at Triple-A or throw him right into the bullpen mix.
Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that the Mets may move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base when he returns from the disabled list. Cabrera has been on the disabled list since June 13 with a sprained left thumb, but he’s expected to be activated on Friday.
Cabrera, 31, last played second base in 2014 with the Nationals. He has played shortstop exclusively as a Met the last two seasons. Jose Reyes would continue to play shortstop if the Mets were to go through with the position change. Cabrera would displace T.J. Rivera, who has been playing second base in place of the injured Neil Walker.
In 196 plate appearances this season, Cabrera is hitting .244/.321/.392 with six home runs and 20 RBI. He has made 11 defensive errors, which is tied for the third-most among shortstops behind Tim Anderson (16) and Dansby Swanson (12).