Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow gets the credit for pulling the trigger on one of the great deadline trades of all-time – Justin Verlander from the Tigers plus money for three prospects, a deal that helped turn them into World Series champions. However, people around the team say owner Jim Crane and manager A.J. Hinch deserve big assists for giving him a little nudge.
Hinch hinted along the way that Verlander was the veteran pitcher they needed. And Crane, who has taken hits for not spending at times, by the end also wanted it done.
“Well, he got the players straight. I think the nudge was a little more money,” Crane recalled. “I said, “Let’s let ’em have it, and get it over with. We were running out of time.”
Verlander approved the trade with two seconds to go, and Tigers GM Al Avila gets an assist there, for having guys holding the paperwork outside Verlander’s Detroit residence, ready to go. And so does incumbent ace Dallas Keuchel, who did some selling to Verlander.
“Without Verlander, we never would have made it to the World Series,” one Astros person said, honestly.
It’s hard to dispute that, really.
“It’s tough to say,” Crane said. “But certainly, it would be difficult to get this far without him. The Red Sox would have been tough. And certainly, the Yankees were tough. We got through that one by the skin of our teeth.”
Verlander went 5-0 with a ridiculous 1.06 ERA in five regular-season starts for the Astros, then posted a 2.21 ERA over 36.2 postseason innings, which covered five starts and one bullpen appearance, en route to a World Series victory.
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