No player’s placement on revocable waivers should really come as a surprise, because tons of players are passed through the system every year as teams attempt to gauge their value. However, the Tigers’ decision to put Verlander through the revocable waiver process was basically a given after he stayed in Detroit at the non-waiver deadline on Monday.
Verlander is a six-time former All-Star and won the 2006 AL Rookie of the Year, 2011 AL Cy Young, and 2011 AL MVP awards. He’s been in the Tigers organization since they drafted him in 2004, and since he’s signed through 2019, it’s easy to see why the Tigers might want to allow him to finish his distinguished career in Detroit. But with the fourth-highest payroll in the majors, the Tigers are attempting to cut costs following the death of owner Mike Illitch, and moving Verlander may be an efficient way to accomplish that task.
Verlander, 34, has a less-than-stellar 4.29 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 22 starts this season, but since he’s less than a year removed from a fantastic 2016 campaign that saw him finish second in AL Cy Young voting, he’ll likely be attractive to clubs that are looking to add rotation depth. Since he’s still owed $56 million over the next two seasons with a $22 million option for 2020 that vests if he finishes within the top five of Cy Young voting in 2019, it’s very possible that he’ll clear waivers, allowing the Tigers to negotiate a trade with any team that wants him in August. He could be an impactful addition to a team like the Astros that can afford to take on payroll and still could use more experienced rotation depth for the stretch run.