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MLB trade rumors: Justin Verlander talks at ‘standstill’

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MLB: Detroit Tigers at Texas Rangers Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The trade market for Tigers ace Justin Verlander seems to be at a “standstill” with just under two weeks left until the waiver deadline, sources told Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Passan’s sources are saying that there are three reasons why this is happening. The first is “the lack of clarity by the Detroit Tigers on their direction.” Detroit general manager Al Avila said to Jason Beck of MLB.com during the winter that he wanted the Tigers to get younger without shelling out more cash than they have. However, the Tigers are locked-in to a ton of long-term contracts with aging veterans, mainly Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, Jordan Zimmerman, Victor Martinez and Justin Upton, making them appear to be a big-market team that is going to compete every year.

The second reason is “the slow-playing of interested teams.” Teams such as the Astros and the Cubs, who showed strong interest during the non-waiver deadline, are hesitant on Verlander because he is struggling this season. Verlander, a six-time former All-Star who has won the 2006 AL Rookie of the Year, 2011 AL Cy Young, and 2011 AL MVP awards, has an 8-8 mark with a 4.11 ERA and 150 strikeouts in 151 innings pitched. Because of his struggles, the Astros, Cubs or any other suitor may not want to pay Verlander’s remaining $75 million through the end of 2019 and additional $22 million in 2020 if he finishes within the top five in Cy Young voting in 2019.

The third reason is “Verlander’s choice not to pursue a deal through public or backchannel lobbying.” Verlander, 35, has a no-trade clause and he would have to agree to any deal. But, he doesn’t have a World Series ring and wants one. Passan’s sources said that if “the right situation came along, he might be inclined to waive his no-trade clause and accept a deal.” However, the sources did say “Verlander’s respect for Detroit and its fans makes it a near-certainty he won’t request a trade.”