Justin Verlander is coming off a Cy Young worthy season, but he could be on the move in the next month as the trade deadline approaches, according to Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports.
The Detroit Tigers are struggling on the field and while the team have been buyers at the trade deadline in recent years, the front office is certainly weighing all options this year, debating whether or not to sell and rebuild, shipping off trade-able assets and building more for the future.
After finishing second in American League Cy Young voting last season and leading the league in strikeouts, Verlander has struggled this year, possibly a by-product of a struggling Tigers team. At 34 years of age, Verlander is on the down side of his career and Passan suggests that maybe he leave Detroit in order to chase a ring before retirement.
While certainly possible, he is owed quite a bit of money over the next two years, $56 million to be exact. He does have an option for 2020 as well, so any team looking to acquire him will get control for the next three seasons.
While Detroit may be willing to sell him to a contender, they will likely not just look to dump his salary, but get some quality in return. It remains to be seen what they may ask for, but a team willing to deal for Verlander will not only need prospects to get the deal done, but a willingness to support a hefty contract.
Verlander so far this season has started 16 games, throwing 94 and 2/3 innings, producing a 4.47 ERA. He has struck out 92 batters, but has walked 44 hitters, atypical for the Tigers’ ace. A final decision on his future in Detroit could be made in the next few weeks.
The Tigers have some tough decisions to make going forward. With the second worst record in the American league and a struggling on-field product, selling off assets to build-up a struggling farm system may be what the team needs. The fans may not like it, but it could set up for a better future in Detroit.