The Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers recently reignited talks on a possible deal to send former MVP and Cy Young-winning starting pitcher Justin Verlander to Houston, sources tell FanRag Sports. After earlier talks fell flat, discussions reignited in recent days as Houston’s need has increased and Verlander has regained his Cy Young form.
Though the two sides spoke last week, completing a deal won’t be easy; sources say a finalized deal remains a “long shot” and that the two sides haven’t spoken in the last few days.
Verlander, 34, is still due to make $28 million in both 2018 and 2019, and has a $22 million option for 2020 that kicks in based on his 2019 performance (a top-5 Cy Young finish triggers the option). While Detroit is willing to pay some of that money depending on the return, said return would have to be good enough to convince Detroit to do so while also parting ways with an iconic player. Between the money remaining and figuring out the prospects Detroit would receive in return, a decent gap is still believed to exist in talks between the two sides.
Verlander, who has cleared waivers, also has full 10-5 no-trade rights and would have to agree to any deal, though he has suggested in the past he’d be willing to do so to go to a contending team.
The 2011 Cy Young and MVP winner is 8-7 this season with a 3.97 ERA, 1.359 WHIP and 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings. Overall, his numbers are down from his Cy Young runner-up 2016 season, when he posted a 3.04 ERA, AL-best 1.001 WHIP and 10 strikeouts per nine. That said, he has pitched far better of late. He is 3-1 with a 2.01 ERA, 0.942 WHIP and 9.8 strikeouts per nine in six second-half starts.
Verlander has spent his entire 13-year career in Detroit, posting a combined 181-113 record to go with a 3.50 ERA. He is a six-time All-Star and, along with winning the Cy Young and AL MVP in 2011, was named the 2006 AL Rookie of the Year. He also has four other top-5 Cy Young finishes to his name.
Detroit enters play on August 15 with a 53-65 record. Houston, which leads the AL West by 11.5 games with a record of 72-46, nonetheless came under fire for a relatively quiet trade deadline, acquiring only Francisco Liriano. Houston has since added Tyler Clippard to its bullpen as well.