The MLB non-waiver trade deadline is just over three weeks away, which should lend to plenty of speculation involving the Los Angeles Dodgers and other contending teams in search of an upgrade to aid a push to the World Series.
One team who could be very active in selling their veteran players is the Detroit Tigers, who have lost 11 of their last 16 games going into play Wednesday. They’re seven games back in the American League Central and 5.5 games back of the second AL Wild Card spot.
Justin Verlander is among the Tigers who may be on the move, though the same was believed to be true last season and during the winter.
If the Tigers are to move one of their franchise cornerstones, they reportedly are seeking a significant return, according to Buster Olney of ESPN:
Teams asking about Justin Verlander; perception is DET looking for big,big,big return w/out salary offset. Owed $70m for rest of '17,'18.'19
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 4, 2017
The 34-year-old is owed roughly $13.6 million for the remainder of this season, and a combined $56 million for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. If Verlander finishes in the top five in the 2019 Cy Young voting it will trigger a $22 million vesting option for 2020.
Dealing the right-hander could also prove tricky because of a full no-trade clause. The Dodgers in theory could make a play for Verlander, and in that case the Tigers may look to receive Alex Verdugo, whom they reportedly covet.
Verlander went 16-9 with a 3.04 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, and finished second in voting for the AL Cy Young last season, but he’s yet to carry that success into 2017.
In 17 starts so far this season, Verlander is 5-5 with a 4.96 ERA, 4.37 FIP and 1.52 WHIP. After leading the AL in strikeouts a season ago, his numbers have dropped to just 92 strikeouts while walking 47 batters in 98 innings of work.