The Detroit Tigers’ starting rotation took a major hit when pitcher Anibal Sanchez was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a blister on his middle finger.
Minor league prospect Robbie Ray will get the start in his place while Sanchez recovers.
Ray was brought on the Tigers’ roster in exchange for pitcher Doug Fister in the Washington Nationals trade this offseason.
Doing this move will only benefit the Tigers. As of Tuesday, his most recent start, Ray has a scoreless inning streak of 16 1/3 innings and seems to have the hot hand right now. With Ray being only 22 years old, he is a young pitcher who could really benefit from being thrown into the fire this season.
And if he turns out to have quality starts, he will surely stay in Detroit and most likely be placed in the bullpen, which will only help the Tigers.
Doing this could also lead to a move that would make room for Ray if he is given a shot on the 25-man roster for an extended period; maybe even finally get the chance to send down relief pitcher Phil Coke to the minors to work on his stuff.
One can only dream.
But in all seriousness, Ray could find a spot in the bullpen just like pitcher Drew Smyly did the past couple of seasons before finally getting his opportunity in the starting rotation. Even though Smyly hasn’t looked as good as the Tigers have hoped for, he is young and he will be able to learn and get better as the season goes on.
Ray could be in the same situation.
We all know about how pitcher Max Scherzer turned down a huge contract extension from the Tigers that would kept him in Detroit for another 6 years. But with Scherzer being smart and knowing his value, he knows that if he has another great season in 2014 then the possibility of landing a huge contract with a another team in free agency is a win-win.
Is this looking ahead into the future? Yes. But is it realistic? Absolutely.
Unless the Tigers are able to somehow come to an agreement with Scherzer or even trade him to a team where they could get anything in return, Ray could very well be the next addition to a starting rotation that can at times be the best in the game.
With Sanchez being down, Ray knows that this is his time to shine.