We heard earlier this week that the Rangers were considering moving Alexi Ogando back in the starting rotation. Well, they got the ball rolling in last night’s loss to the White Sox.
Last night’s starter, Yu Darvish, was knocked out of the ballgame after 6 1/3 innings, so Ogando ended up pitching the final 2 2/3 innings. The 28-year-old right-hander allowed two hits and two walks, including an RBI double to Alex Rios and a two-run homer to Alexei Ramirez in the top of the ninth. He ended up throwing a season-high 44 pitches, topping the 39 he threw over three innings in his spot-start against the Giants back on June 10.
According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth-Star Telegram, Rangers manager Ron Washington confirmed after the game that they are trying to stretch Ogando as a starting pitcher. If it happens, he would take the rotation spot of Colby Lewis, who is out for the season following surgery yesterday to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. The spot is currently being held down by Scott Feldman, who tossed seven innings of one-run ball against the Red Sox on Monday.
Ogando might not be needed in the rotation at all if the Rangers get someone Josh Johnson from the Marlins or James Shields from the Rays before Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline, but he’s a pretty nice “Plan B.”
The Astros are in agreement with right-hander Justin Verlander on a two-year, $66 million extension, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com was among those to report on Friday. With no money deferred, the $33 million he’ll receive over the next two years will set a record AAV for major-league pitchers; something MLB Network’s Jon Heyman says matters to Verlander, who “cares how his deals affect markets (and fellow players).”
While it’s far from the five-year, $100 million extension teammate Alex Bregman signed with the club on Friday, the deal will give the Astros a bigger window to consider their long-term plans for the ace before he hits free agency again. Prior to Saturday’s agreement, Verlander’s original contract — the hefty seven-year, $180 million arrangement he reached with the Tigers in 2013 — was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2019 season.
It’s difficult to overestimate the value Verlander has provided to the Astros since they acquired him from the Tigers back in 2017. He was named the 2017 ALCS MVP following seven shutout innings in a must-win Game 6 performance and helped the Astros clinch their first franchise World Series title. In 2018, he earned his seventh career All-Star distinction and received consideration for both AL Cy Young and MVP awards after pitching to a 16-9 record in 34 starts with a 2.52 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, 12.2 SO/9 (the product of a career-high 290 strikeouts), and 6.7 fWAR over 214 innings.
The deal has not been confirmed by the team.