The Detroit Tigers they make sure to send a scout every time a major league free agent has an exhibition event – Show Case – or training. No matter the level of interest, no matter the odds of signing the player, the Tigers are usually represented. It’s a policy that dates back to Dave Dombrowski’s time as CEO, and has continued under Al Avila.
And so it was that the Tigers had a scout available earlier this week at Cressey Sports Performance in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, observing a familiar face. The Detroit main office knows a lot about Justin verlander, but the Tigers wanted to see what he looks like now as he heads to free agency for the first time in his career:
They certainly weren’t alone. Between 15 and 20 teams were represented in the Verlander showcase. What they saw was a fastball in the mid-90s from a 38-year-old pitcher who underwent Tommy John surgery just over a year ago.
Given those ties, the Tigers have been linked to an interest in Verlander, with speculation that he could go back to his roots and revert to the Old English D. With Spencer Turnbull expected to miss virtually the entire next season and left-hander Matthew Boyd will miss at least the beginning of it, Detroit is looking to add two starting pitchers to complement its young trio of Casey Mize, left-hander Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning. .
The Tigers are looking to build on their 77-win season and get back into playoff contention, but they need to strengthen their rotation to get there. With the flexibility of payroll, they have the opportunity to break out of their recent one-year contract cycle to win back candidates.
However, any idea that the Tigers are a natural landing spot for Verlander to resurrect his career while other teams rule him out seems overly optimistic, especially if he’s pitching so hard so soon after elbow surgery.
If Verlander can take advantage of this, he can appeal to teams that are in contention for the World Series right now and looking to add to their rotation for a shove, more than a typical pitcher returning from Tommy John surgery, especially one. who turns 39 in February.
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Astros owner Jim Crane told reporters last month that Verlander is seeking “a contract of a certain length.” Houston made a qualifying offer to Verlander last week, so if the Tigers hired him, they would have to give up a pick in next year’s Draft as compensation, either their third-highest pick or next-best option if already. They had done so signed by another free agent who had received a qualified offer.
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MLB: Tigers do ‘due diligence’ on Justin Verlander training