Justin Verlander is finally healthy after being sidelined since spring training with a triceps injury and the Tigers announced that he’ll come off the disabled list to make his season debut Saturday against the Indians.
Verlander made his second-minor league rehab start Saturday at Triple-A, striking out nine batters in 5.2 innings to convince the Tigers that he’s ready to return. He threw 93 pitches in that outing, so he should be just about fully stretched out.
As for what to expect from Verlander, that’s awfully tough to say. Even before this injury derailed him for the start of this season the former MVP and Cy Young winner looked like a big question mark at age 32. He allowed the most earned runs in the league last season, posting a 4.54 ERA with just 6.9 strikeouts per nine innings and diminished velocity.
He’s signed through 2019 at an average of $28 million per season and the Tigers have lost 14 of their last 21 games, so they desperately need Verlander to get back on track and stay healthy.
Ken Rosenthal and Josh Tolentino of The Athletic report that Rays starter Blake Snell has switched agencies, going from Apex Baseball to Boras Corporation. Snell is currently signed to a five-year, $50 million contract and will be under contract through 2023.
Snell found himself in hot water two weeks ago when he said on his Twitch stream that he wouldn’t risk his life to play baseball during a pandemic while receiving significantly reduced pay. Some described Snell as tone deaf for saying, “I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, okay?”
Boras represents many of baseball’s highest-paid players, including Gerrit Cole and Bryce Harper. Snell is not likely to win over any of the people he recently irritated by appearing to go after more money by hiring the highest-profile agent. What often goes unsaid is that players have a very limited window in which to use their elite athletic skills to make money.
Snell won the 2018 AL Cy Young Award, going 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA and a 221/64 K/BB ratio over 180 2/3 innings. He did not have nearly the same success last year, going 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA and a 147/40 K/BB ratio in 107 innings.