By: Evan Jankens
Friday afternoon it was reported that Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander has cleared waivers and can be traded if that’s what the team would like to do.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported Sunday that the Tigers and Astros have talked about trading for the former A.L. MVP. “#Astros have had contact this month regarding possible Justin Verlander trade; unclear if there is momentum in talks. @MLB,” Morosi tweeted.
With the Astros in need of starting pitching this would make sense for both clubs since the Tigers are still reportedly trying to get young and shed some payroll.
As CBSDetroit’s Will Burchfield wrote on Friday it will still be very tough to trade Verlander.
The issue, on top of the money, is that any 40-man player coming back to the Tigers would have to pass through waivers as well. In regard to Derek Fisher, for example, that simply wouldn’t happen. The same is true of any talented young player on a 40-man roster.
Morosi wrote about the situation today, stating that the Astros are “under pressure” after not making a deal at the deadline and thinks that Verlander would be open to a deal going to Houston.
Even after trading veterans J.D. Martinez, Justin Wilson and Alex Avila last month, the Tigers’ payroll is reportedly north of $200 million and remains above the Competitive Balance Tax threshold of $195 million. Because the Tigers exceeded the luxury-tax limit during the 2016 season as well, they would owe a 30-percent tax on any amount of overage this year.
Verlander’s contract remains a potential stumbling block, as it was in the Tigers’ trade conversations last month. He is owed more than $8 million over the balance of this season, followed by $28 million in both 2018 and 2019.
If the Tigers are still willing to trade Verlander this season, the cash attached to the Tigers ace will always be a problem.