We’re so close I can almost taste it. Welcome to the last Monday links without baseball. I would like to congratulate all of you for making it to this point. Baseball is about to begin, and while all accounts assure us that the brand of baseball coming out of Detroit is going to be nothing short of terrible, I can only respond that terrible baseball is better than no baseball. At least for a while.
Get familiar with Franklin Perez
In his latest piece, Anthony Fenech of The Detroit Free Press introduces us to Franklin Perez. After being the featured piece in the Justin Verlander trade, Perez immediately found himself the best prospect in the Tigers system. While it appears he initially struggled with the change to a new organization, he seems to have acclimated quite well to his new surroundings, and everyone in the Detroit system sees great things both on and off the field for the young pitcher. The story is a good look at what it’s like for an international prospect trying to find his way in the world of professional baseball.
Drew Verhagen is committed to relief
It would appear that pitcher Drew VerHagen is done entertaining the idea that he may someday be a starter. As Evan Woodbury of MLive indicates, VerHagen is coming into spring with a focus on making it in the bullpen. He’s out of options so he knows it’s kind of do or die for him this spring, and one way he’s trying to sharpen up to make the roster is by tightening up what has been, to this point, a big looping curveball. The good news for VerHagen is that he’s competing for a spot in a bullpen that has some space available.
It’s no secret that Joe Jimenez had a less than stellar introduction to Major League Baseball in 2017. When evaluating young organizational talent for 2018, it’s weird to see that the 23-year-old hurler is something of an afterthought. Fortunately, Jimenez doesn’t see things that way at all. Expectations are much more tempered now, but Jimenez has put last year behind him and is looking for an opportunity to contribute as a key piece of the bullpen in 2018.
Another big piece in the stagnant free agent market found a home over the weekend when Yu Darvish signed with the Chicago Cubs. The signing kick-started yet another round of speculation wondering if this would be the signing to start the process for the rest of the class. We’ll see if the proposed frenzy becomes reality this week.
Baseball as art
Buried under stories of bull riding in the latest Sunday Notes column from FanGraphs is an interesting nugget about the Detroit Institute of Art. Beginning at the end of March the DIA will be featuring baseball-related artwork, some old cards like Honus Wagner’s, and some memorabilia from the Tigers’ 1968 series in an exhibition entitled Play Ball: Baseball At The DIA. If you live in the area, this sounds like something worth checking out.
Sammy six shooters
There’s quite a bit to unpack here, but my main focus regarding this picture is what Sammy Sosa’s nickname would be if he were an old west gunfighter.