In the weeks leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline the Detroit Tigers reportedly were considering parting with multiple veterans, including Justin Verlander. In the end, only Alex Avila and Justin Wilson were moved, as they were packaged to the Chicago Cubs.
Verlander was said to have drawn interest from the Cubs, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers prior to last month’s deadline. In the case of the Cubs that may have been more cursory than legitimate interest, while the Dodgers were reported as backing away from Verlander in order to focus on Zach Britton, Yu Darvish and Sonny Gray.
To little surprise, the 34-year-old was not dealt at the non-waiver trade deadline. However unlikely it may be, Verlander is a candidate to be moved at some point in August.
According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Tigers took the first step toward that possibility by placing Verlander on revocable waivers:
The #Tigers placed Justin Verlander on revocable waivers today, source says. Name came up at the deadline, but he stayed put in Detroit.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) August 2, 2017
It should be noted all teams place several players on revocable waivers each August, even those whom they have no intention of trading. With over $65 million remaining on his contract through the 2019 season, Verlander presumably will clear waivers.
At that point the Tigers would be free to hold trade talks with any team(s) in the league. They reportedly were willing to pay Verlander’s remaining 2017 salary in order to facilitate a trade in July, but that seemingly did little to pique interest.
Aside from an exorbitant salary, potentially trading the six-time All-Star is further complicated by a full no-trade clause. Verlander this season is 6-7 with 4.29 ERA, 4.14 FIP and 1.43 WHIP in 22 starts.
He’s produced a string of encouraging outings of late, while holding usual velocity. Whether that’s enough to entice a team to take a gamble on the 2016 American League Cy Young Award runner-up remains to be seen.