The Tigers and Astros have discussed a post-deadline trade involving Justin Verlander in recent days, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale notes that the talks were not productive and are unlikely to lead to a deal.
The first obstacle of the waiver deadline has been tackled thanks to Verlander’s massive contract keeping teams away from claiming Verlander off revocable waivers. Verlander, who is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, can now be traded to any team, with the Astros looking like the most interested party.
Astros’ ace Dallas Keuchel has had his own injury issues recently, but is back in the rotation and trying to find his way back to form. With Lance McCullers on the mend due to a back injury and Keuchel finding his way back, the Astros need reinforcements as they look to make a World Series run in an American League where there is no clear favorite.
The Tigers will likely either look to unload Verlander’s contract for prospects, or agree to eat a portion of his contract in exchange for better prospects. The Astros still have a solid farm system, but what they would be willing to part with for an aging starting pitcher with a hefty pay demand remains to be seen.
What could be intriguing to the Astros is Verlander’s recent performance. His ERA has dropped from 4.96 to 4.20 since the beginning of July, including his most recent start against the Orioles in which he tossed seven innings and struck out 10 while allowing two earned runs.
Waiver-wire deals are usually hard to accomplish, so it would be a surprise at this point if Verlander is not a Tiger come winter. Regardless, Houston’s interest signals that at least the slight possibility of a trade still exists.