Contending baseball teams will have until midnight on Thursday to decide if they’re ready for September, or if they need to add one last touch to their roster. While the waiver deadline is typically pretty quiet, there remains lingering interest in Justin Verlander that will have to be monitored. The Tigers’ star showed out again on Wednesday, striking out nine and allowing just three hits in dangerous Coors Field. Another huge second half run is at hand.
He also knocked in the first run of his career with a single into center field. Verlander felt a little fatigue in his trapezius from taking his cuts, and only threw 98 pitches, but expressed certainty that there was no issue going forward.
The Tigers claim they expect Verlander to remain with the team. Considering the cost, that’s always been the smart assumption. However, the few possible suitors don’t have major worries about making the playoffs. Saving a decent chunk of money by waiting until the deadline may yet prove a calculated move by a team like the Astros.
With Aaron Judge cratering in August, the Yankees will be hoping that Greg Bird’s return will kickstart their offense down the stretch. Not only is Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman, Justin Turner, crushing the baseball. He’s spread the fly ball gospel to teammates like Chris Taylor and Yasiel Puig.
Our old pal Dave Dombrowski didn’t screw around when Jackie Bradley Jr. went down. Rajai Davis is 36 now, but the hired gun continues to run wild on the bases and add some punch to contending teams. The Dodgers keep winning, and now they get Cody Bellinger and Clayton Kershaw back. Not fair, man.
Why are teams even pitching to Giancarlo Stanton any more?
We’re going to need a new emoji for @Giancarlo818. pic.twitter.com/9263k4tMkJ— MLB (@MLB) August 29, 2017
And speaking of hot bats, research by physicist Alan Nathan, writing for Hardball Times, seems to generally confirm the juiced ball theory.
In 2014, 11 batters hit 30 or more homers. So far this season: 20 batters have 30 or more homers. With a month to go.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) August 31, 2017
Gregory Soto is good
One of the real eye-openers in the Tigers’ farm system, Soto harnessed his impressive raw stuff this season and big-brothered two levels of A-ball. We’ve covered Soto quite a bit as many looked at him as a breakout candidate during the offseason. But it’s interesting to look back at quotes from Whitecaps’ pitching coach, Jorge Cordova, in Michael Peng’s April piece on Soto for MiLB.com. Refinement is still required, but Soto has lived up to preseason interest. Yes, I’m linking you to a four month old article.
It’s worth reading, as Soto has lived up to the possibilities and goals Cordova laid out. Jorge Cordova, by the way, is doing a very nice job in West Michigan. He and Midwest League Manager of the Year, Mike Rabelo, have done an excellent job this season. That success bodes well for the Tigers’ farm system.
The stretch drive
John Perrotto looked into five possible trade candidates at the waiver deadline. Jon Heyman looked ahead to free agency. And Seattle is going down swinging, making yet another move for a pitcher by acquiring Mike Leake from the Cardinals.
Baseball is awesome
If you zig, @javy23baez will zag.— MLB (@MLB) August 31, 2017
… And maybe steal home. pic.twitter.com/jijXGi2aQP