Toronto made a blockbuster deal for David Price at the trade deadline to anchor the pitching staff and now the Blue Jays may be adding another top-of-the-rotation arm to the mix.
Marcus Stroman, who had a fantastic rookie season in 2014 and was slated to be the Opening Day starter before suffering a torn ACL during spring training, is close to beginning a minor-league rehab assignment with an eye toward pitching this season.
He was initially expected to miss the entire year, but Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports that Stroman has recently been throwing from flat ground and could be cleared to begin a rehab assignment as soon as August 21.
Whether that would leave him enough time to build up the arm strength necessary to start games for the Blue Jays in September and potentially October remains to be seen, but at the very least a late-season bullpen role seems possible.
Stroman posted a 3.65 ERA and 111/28 K/BB ratio in 131 innings as a 23-year-old rookie, averaging 94 miles per hour with his fastball and allowing just seven home runs in 534 plate appearances. Regardless of the role, if healthy Stroman has the ability to make a big impact.
Tigers owner Mike Ilitch cut ties with longtime general manager Dave Dombrowski on Tuesday afternoon, but it doesn’t sound like anybody else is on the chopping block yet. Al Avila, who has been installed as the Tigers’ new GM and vice president, said Tuesday in his introductory press conference that manager Brad Ausmus’ job, for one, is safe.
“I believe in Brad Ausmus,” said Avila, via Chris Iott of MLive.com. “He is our manager for the rest of this season for sure. I have all the confidence in him. I think he’s done a good job. Just like everything else from here on out, everything will be evaluated. Our staff will be evaluated. Our major-league club will be evaluated as we have done in years past.”
Detroit sold off David Price, Yoenis Cespedes, and Joakim Soria last week, but the club is only three games back of the second American League Wild Card spot entering play Tuesday.
Ausmus boasts a 141-126 record since taking over as the Tigers’ manager last year.
He also carries the distinction of being ranked HBT’s most handsome skipper.
Big, rather shocking news out of Detroit as general manager Dave Dombrowski is out as general manager. Team owner Mike Illitch has characterized it thusly:
“I’ve decided to release Dave from his contract in order to afford him the time to pursue other career opportunities.”
Which is another way to say that Dombrowski, whose contract was to expire after this season, was not going to be asked back. Taking over for Dombrowski is longtime assistant Al Avila, who will assume Dombrowski’s title of GM and will be Vice President of Baseball Operations. Avila is the father of Tigers catcher/1B Alex Avila.
Dombrowski helped build this Tigers team into a perennial contender, but with their fortunes souring this season and a recent sell-off of David Price and Yoenis Cespedes, it was time to build. And building is not something Dombrowski has done a ton of in recent years.
And now a big job lays ahead for Al Avila. And big shoes to fill.