UPDATE: The sides were able to swing a deal after all. Click here for the full story.
ORIGINAL: The Astros and Tigers came close to a deal involving Justin Verlander that fell apart late Thursday night, according to a report from Chris McCosky of the Detroit News. Detroit and Houston were reportedly close to a deal that would have sent Verlander to Houston for righty Franklin Perez, catcher Jake Rogers and outfielder Daz Cameron.
It’s unclear if Verlander used his no-trade clause to cancel the deal or if the Astros got cold feet and backed out, according to McCosky. Either way, the deal is off.
Verlander, of course, has a full no-trade clause that allows him to block any deal that he doesn’t see fit. Houston has been the most aggressive team involved in talks for him since before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, though the decision on whether or not a deal gets completed ultimately belonged to Verlander if the sides were in agreement.
Tonight’s scuttled deal is the second time Houston has been left at the altar on a major trade in the last month, as the club was reportedly close to acquiring Orioles reliever Zach Britton at the end of last month before medical issues with involved prospects cancelled the trade. The Astros’ only acquisitions of the last two months have been relievers Francisco Liriano and Tyler Clippard despite the organization’s aggressive approach to trade talks.
Verlander, 34, has been involved in trade rumors for most of the last two months as the Tigers have embarked on a rebuild that has seen J.D. Martinez, Alex Avila, Justin Wilson and Justin Upton shipped out of town. Verlander is under control through 2019 for $56 million, with his deal including a $22 million vesting option for 2020 if he finishes in the top five of Cy Young voting in 2019.
With tonight’s deal cancelled, the Tigers will surely look to deal Verlander this winter and will almost assuredly receive strong interest from the Dodgers and Cubs. Both of those clubs are attractive destinations to the former Cy Young winner, meaning he’d likely waive his no-trade clause to go to Los Angeles or Chicago.