“All good things must come to an end.”
As sports fans, we know that the above quote not only rings true in life but certainly rings true in professional athletics. Franchises may seem to last forever but great teams and great players come and go in what seems like a heartbeat.
When Justin Verlander was selected by the Detroit Tigers No. 2 overall in the 2004 Major League Baseball Draft, Tigers fans could have only dreamed about what the young flame-thrower would eventually become. Verlander has made most of those dreams come true, including winning the American League MVP in 2011, and for that, we should be grateful. But those of you who are hoping he finishes his career in the Old English D, you may have to settle for what may have been the one final gem he will leave us with, his almost unhittable performance on Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
You see, despite being one of the most beloved athletes in Detroit sports history, Verlander is stuck on a team which has underachieved, and because of that, he could be traded to a contender, sooner than later.
On Wednesday night, Verlander took the mound at Comerica Park in a Tigers uniform. It’s something he has done during the regular season 186 times in his career but it’s possible this was the final time he will ever do so.
If this was, in fact, Verlander’s final outing with the Tigers, he certainly left us with one hell of a memory. In eight innings of work, JV allowed only one hit and struck out six as the Tigers dominated the Pirates 10-0. He was working on his third career no-hitter in the sixth inning before Pirates designated hitter Josh Bell doubled down the third base line, just out of the reach of Nicholas Castellanos. It would have been a difficult play for the defensively challenged Castellanos but it was the type of Web Gem that just about every no-hitter seems to have.
From Detroit Free Press:
“Really after (starting the sixth inning) is kind of when I really decided to step on the gas and go for it. But I fell one out shy of that. Nick almost made a great play, grounder to the left side. Hard-hit ball, clean hit.”
After getting the final out of the eighth inning, Verlander walked off the field to a Comerica Park crowd that was absolutely roaring about a memorable performance. If it was the final time JV ever walks of the Comerica Park field in a Tigers uniform, those in attendance made sure he will have quite the memory too.
The Final Chapter?
Since July 8th, Justin Verlander is 4-2 with a microscopic 1.63 ERA and he would certainly be a nice addition to the pitching staff of a contending team.
One team that keeps coming up in trade rumors involving Verlander is the Houston Astros. Though the Astros still maintain a healthy lead in the American League West, their pitching has been awful since the All-Star break and if they truly want to compete for a World Series they will have to add a solid starter to their rotation.
The answer to the Astros problems could be Verlander and as time goes by this seems to become more and more evident. They have prospects to deal and that is exactly what the Tigers are looking for as they move toward the future.
But that does not mean Tigers general manager Al Avila is just going to give Verlander away unless he gets a huge return. In addition, it is important to note that Avila did not seem too willing to pay much of the $56 million JV is owed over the next two seasons. Whether or not that is still the case, the more of Verlander’s contract the Tigers agree to pay, the bigger the return they will get.
There is no question in my mind that the Astros — and maybe even the New York Yankees — will come hard with some competitive offers that will be extremely hard to pass up. But Justin Verlander is more than just another pitcher who happened to wear a Tigers uniform, he is an icon in Detroit sports history.
When it comes down to it, I believe that Al Avila will listen to all offers but will make the decision to keep Verlander in Motown. This will likely be a decision that is polarizing to the fan base as some will be upset at Avila for not unloading JV’s contract, while others will look past the money and be happy they will get to see him pitch at least one more time for the team that drafted him.
I have to admit, I would be in the happy group if JV sticks around.
“All good things may come to an end.”
That is a true statement, but in my opinion, we will still have some time to enjoy one of the best to ever pitch for the Detroit Tigers, Justin Verlander.