- Dan Szymborski, ESPN Insider
Baseball has changed a great deal in 140 years, but one thing that has always remained true is that every team, no matter the philosophy, salivates at the prospect of having a durable ace at the top of the rotation. Another thing that has always been true is that the lifespan of an ace can be maddeningly short, with a sheer drop down to mortality always beckoning -- and sometimes, as in the case of Josh Johnson or Tim Lincecum, that cliff is even steeper.
Add another name to the list: Detroit Tiger and now former ace Justin Verlander.
Declining velocity and strikeout rate suggest Justin Verlander is no longer an ace. In fact, he's looking more and more like a No. 3 starter.