For the first time since 2007 someone other than Justin Verlander will make the Opening Day start for the Tigers, as manager Brad Ausmus announced that David Price will get the Game 1 assignment.
Verlander struggled last season, allowing the most earned runs in the league, and there’s little doubt that Price–who made three Opening Day starts for the Rays–projects to be the better pitcher this year. Or as Ausmus put it: “I have to make a decision based on baseball and what’s best for the 2015 Tigers.”
Of course, the Tigers previously stuck with Verlander as the Opening Day starter even when they had the reigning Cy Young winner, Max Scherzer, in the rotation alongside him. Who’s the last non-Verlander pitcher to start for the Tigers on Opening Day? Jeremy Bonderman in 2007.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.
The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.