Detroit Tigers: Justin Verlander may be headed to Houston

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 15: Justin Verlander
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 15: Justin Verlander /

The Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros are reportedly in discussions, again, regarding a possible trade of long-time Tigers ace, Justin Verlander.

Apparently the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros have discussed the possibility of a Justin Verlander trade so much that they actually know exactly where each other stand but both organizations refuse to budge from their respective prices.

MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported Wednesday that the Astros and Tigers “have talked enough” about Verlander and that they each have “a good understanding of the other’s position.” Morosi added that a deal doesn’t seem to be imminent but “circumstances are such that one phone call could create momentum rapidly, closer to [the] Aug. 31 roster deadline.”

On Tuesday, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported that the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros “recently reignited talks” surrounding a potential Verlander trade. He also added that a deal wasn’t close and even dubbed it as “long shot.” Heyman went on to say that “a decent gap is still believed to exist in talks.” It seems that the Detroit Tigers may want prospects the Astros don’t want to surrender and the Tigers also don’t want to pay a significant amount of Verlander’s contract.

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The Detroit Tigers are currently set to pay a 34-year old Verlander $28 million in 2018 and 2019 before a potential $22 million in 2020 if he is a top-five Cy Young finalist.

Verlander was the 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young winner and his prime is likely behind him. However, he has pitched quite well as of late before he surrendered five earned runs and three home runs on Tuesday against the Texas Rangers. The Detroit Tigers ended up losing 10-4 but prior to that outing, Verlander had given up three or fewer earned runs over his last seven starts.

Overall, Verlander has posted a 4.11 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, and 150 strikeouts across 151 innings. While those aren’t ace-like numbers, Houston’s injury plagued rotation could use the help and he may provide a spark considering they’ve lost six of their last eight games.

The Detroit Tigers dealt J.D. Martinez to the Arizona Diamondbacks and may look to unload Verlander, Ian Kinsler, and Miguel Cabrera to begin a full rebuild. Justin Upton is under contract but has an opt-out clause for this winter that looks more and more likely as he continues to play well.

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Verlander could be a big part of the rebuild and even though the Astros have a 12.5 game lead in the American League West, he could be a big part of attaining their big goal of a World Series title. Verlander has a 3.39 ERA in 16 postseason starts including multiple World Series appearances. The Astros could certainly benefit from that kind of veteran experience and leadership.