Injuries forced the Rangers to make some last-minute adjustments to their rotation and they decided to give Tanner Scheppers the Opening Day start despite the fact that he’d never started a big-league game before.
It went poorly, as have his other starts, and now Scheppers may not be long for the rotation. Manager Ron Washington declined to feed into that speculation, but Scheppers has a 9.82 ERA while allowing a league-high 20 runs in 18 innings, serving up four homers. Last season, as a full-time reliever, he had a 1.88 ERA in 77 innings and his average fastball was 2.5 miles per hour faster in the bullpen.
Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas guesses that the Rangers will give Scheppers one more start to prove himself, as which point replacing him with Double-A right-hander Nick Martinez could be an option. Left-hander Matt Harrison is also nearly ready to come off the disabled list. And then the question would become whether the brief stint in the rotation will have a lingering negative impact on Scheppers’ work as a reliever.
Free agent right-hander Trevor Cahill reportedly has a one-year deal in place with the Athletics, according to MLB.com’s Jane Lee. The exact terms have yet to be disclosed, and as the agreement is still pending a physical, it has not been formally announced by the club.
Cahill, 30, is coming off of a decent, albeit underwhelming year with the Padres and Royals. He kicked off the 2017 season with a 4-3 record in 11 starts for the Padres, then split his time between the rotation and bullpen after a midseason trade to the Royals. By the end of the year, the righty led the league with 16 wild pitches and had racked up a 4.93 ERA, 4.8 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 in 84 innings for the two teams.
The A’s found themselves in desperate need of rotation depth this week after Jharel Cotton announced he’d miss the 2018 season to undergo Tommy John surgery. Right now, the team is considering some combination of Andrew Triggs, Daniel Gossett, Daniel Mengden and Paul Blackburn for the back end of the rotation — a mix that seems unlikely to change in the last two weeks before Opening Day, as Lee points out that Cahill won’t be ready to shoulder a full workload by then. Instead, he’s expected to begin the year in the bullpen and work his way up to a starting role, where the A’s hope he’ll replicate the All-Star numbers he produced with them back in 2010.