The Tigers are shopping right-hander Justin Verlander “aggressively,” a rival GM told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. The GM went as far as to say he believes Verlander will be traded before next Monday’s trade deadline.
Detroit already traded one veteran in J.D. Martinez and is reportedly trying to move Verlander, reliever Justin Wilson and catcher Alex Avila as well. Verlander’s case is a bit more complicated than those of the others, though he has reportedly drawn interest from a few clubs, including the Brewers and Cubs.
Verlander, 34, has worked to a 4.54 ERA in 20 starts just a year after finishing second in voting for the AL Cy Young award. He is owed about $75 million through the end of 2019 and could earn an additional $22 million in 2020 if he finishes within the top five in Cy Young voting in 2019.
Verlander also has a no-trade clause, presenting another obstacle in getting another deal done. With just a week to go, the Tigers would not only have to find a suitor for Verlander but also distribute the money owed to him over the next two years while also getting him to agree to a deal. Those obstacles would seem to make an offseason deal more likely, though the club’s reported aggressiveness in getting a deal done could mean something will happen this week.
According to MLive’s Evan Woodbery reported Monday, the Tigers called up righty Drew VerHagen in time for Monday’s game and had him prepared to start if talks involving Verlander advanced to a point where he would be scratched. Though Verlander did start the game, the idea of having VerHagen ready would suggest that Tigers brass is seriously considering the idea of dealing Verlander in the very near future.