By: Will Burchfield
A lot of teams could use Justin Verlander, should the Tigers decide to trade him. Very few could afford him.
That presents a dilemma for GM Al Avila, who might not find the market to his liking for a potential Hall-of-Famer.
Per FanRag sports, one source placed the odds of Verlander being dealt before the deadline at ‘three’ on a scale of one to 10. Most of the skepticism stems from Verlander’s contract, which pays him $28 million per season through 2019 with a $22 million vesting option for 2020.
A rival GM told FanRag sports he doubts any team would be willing to assume that kind of financial commitment. A recent report from Yahoo! Sports indicated that “at least one large-market team” has already been scared away by the $56 million Verlander is guaranteed though 2019.
The irony is that Verlander would command far more on the free-agent market right now. (Maybe not in annual salary, but certainly in overall earnings.) He’s fresh off a Cy Young award-worthy season and is widely viewed as one of the best pitchers in the game. The 34-year-old would be a boon to any pitching staff in baseball.
It’s for this reason that there is a possibility he could be dealt.
Per FanRag sports, “sources suggest that a handful of teams hold some interest in the former Cy Young winner and MVP.” Verlander was linked to the Dodgers in the offseason and it’s generally believed that he would waive his no-trade clause to play for a winning team in a major city.
There are “three or four teams” thought to be interested in Verlander at the moment, according to FanRag, although it isn’t known if the Dodgers are among them. A “Tigers-connected person” mentioned the Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox and Astros as possible suitors.
Per Yahoo! Sports, several front-office sources “expect Verlander to hit the trade market sometime in the next two weeks.”
The Tigers are 34-43 and 6.5 games out of a playoff spot. The organization is committed to cutting payroll and operating more closely within the means of a small-market team. Trading Verlander, in theory, would be a a significant step in that direction.
However, per Yahoo! Sports, the Tigers “would not view a deal of him as a pure money dump.” In essence, they’ll want assets in return.
To make that happen, they’ll likely have to eat some of his salary.