While still not likely, any possible trade for Justin Verlander gets trickier for the Astros.
It is still very unlikely that the Houston Astros trade for Justin Verlander. The Tigers have already said that they will hold onto Verlander until the offseason. Jon Heyman later confirmed that report by Bob Nightengale in a report. The Tigers weren’t getting anywhere with the Astros concerning a trade.
If I were the Astros GM, I would do what it takes to get Verlander. While it maybe would help turn around the current slump, they are in. Trading for Verlander would send a message to the players. But then again, the Astros can will as is.
Luhnow has a plan.
Fortunately, I am not the GM of the Astros. Jeff Luhnow has a plan and is trying to stick to that plan. Maybe he is hoping for the successful run of the 90’s Atlanta Braves. Even though a Verlander trade makes sense, it is very complicated. Trading for Verlander would be against their MO.
There is the money issue, with about $60 million guaranteed for this year and the next two seasons. Then there is the $22 million option for 2020 if he finished in the top three of Cy Young voting in 2019. How much the Tigers take on to facilitate a trade?
The Tigers have not been too willing to give a lot to trade their iconic pitcher. Fans outside of Detroit may not realize it, but he is the Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell of the Tigers. To justify the trade, they would need to get some players in return. If the Astros were to take on the entire contract, they should have claimed him.
Another wrinkle came out today. Reported by Jon Morosi, the new CBA allows for Verlander to opt out of his contract next year if traded. It only becomes a thing if Verlander waived his no trade clause to come to Houston. This is a game changer.
The Astros would be less willing to give up top prospects in that case. Why would they give up a Kyle Tucker or Forrest Whitley if Verlander could opt out? At the same token, unless Verlander hates Houston, why would he opt out of that contract? Unless he had a Randy Johnson like finish, there is no way he gets what he has now.
It’s all a mute point. Verlander is needed in Houston but will go home early in October. Not sure if anything will happen at this point, but the Stros need to play better.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***