On the brink of the August 31 deadline, the Detroit Tigers traded their beloved ace Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros in a four-player deal.
With minutes to go before the before the waiver deadline at 11:59 ET on Thursday night, the Detroit Tigers came to terms with the Houston Astros for Justin Verlander. The Astros are now responsible for Verlander’s $78 million contract, which spans through 2019 with a vesting option in 2020. In return, the Tigers received right-handed pitcher Franklin Perez, outfielder Daz Cameron and catcher Jake Rogers.
The #Astros have acquired RHP Justin Verlander and a PTBNL or cash from the Tigers.
— #AstrosHarvey (@astros) September 1, 2017
Although both parties kept in contact over the past several weeks regarding Verlander, it seemed for much of Thursday that the trade would not go through. According to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News, the trade was jeopardized “either because he [Verlander] vetoed it, or because the Astros got cold feet and pulled back part of their offer.”
In any case, Verlander is now an Astro and his longstanding tenure as a Tiger has come to an end. One year after the Tigers drafted Verlander No. 2 overall in 2004, he won the Rookie of the Year award. What followed was a spectacular 13-year career with the Tigers, in which he won the Cy Young Award as well as the MVP in 2011. He has also finished second in the Cy Young voting twice, including last season.
On the hunt
Yet, after all of his years with the Tigers, he is still searching for his first World Series championship. The Tigers were sent home empty handed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006 and the San Francisco Giants in 2012. Now that he is a part of the American League-leading Astros, who stand at 80-53, Verlander’s window for postseason glory is reopened.
Following their red-hot sprint into the All-Star game, the Astros have since cooled down to a 19-24 record in the second half. The Astros rejoiced in the return of Colin McHugh and Dallas Keuchel’s recovery, but neither are matching their past success. Although they comfortably lead the AL West by 11.5 games, the Astros’ need for a pitching upgrade was obvious.
Now, it appears as if Verlander solves Houston’s question of whose to follow Keuchel in the rotation. With his 10-8 record and 3.82 ERA, Verlander is cruising at 5-2 and 2.41 ERA in the second half. In his last three starts, he has only allowed four earned runs. If his success can continue in a different uniform and throughout the postseason, his presence only increases the chances of the Astros reaching, and potentially winning the World Series.