Early on in the offseason, the Dodgers reportedly asked the Tigers about the availability of their long-time ace, Justin Verlander, according to a report from Jon Heyman. The 34-year-old right-hander is coming off of his best season since 2012, during which he coincidentally also finished second-place in American League Cy Young voting.
Verlander is guaranteed $84 million over the next three seasons, and has a vesting option for the 2020 season worth $22 million. The vesting option automatically kicks in with a top-five finish in Cy Young voting in his age-36 season.
According to Heyman, the Dodgers checked in on Verlander’s availability prior to re-signing Rich Hill, Kenley Jansen, and Justin Turner who were the priority. This makes Verlander seem more like a backup plan in what could have been a difficult offseason for the Dodgers. Once the Dodgers had committed $192 million in total to Hill, Jansen, and Turner, trading for Verlander appeared to be beyond their payroll limitations.
Verlander has expressed interest in waiving his no-trade clause in the event that the Tigers decide to start selling off assets. With the Tigers teetering somewhere in the middle on the AL Central, they could be an interesting team to watch as the season progresses toward the trade deadline. With many interesting assets, the Tigers could be a compelling rumor mill this season.