When the 2016 season ended, Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila shouted to the high heavens that “changes are coming.”
It was not long after that comment that the Tigers announced that their starting CF Cameron Maybin had been traded to the Angels for a minor league pitcher who not many thought too highly of. The big selloff was officially underway in the Motor City!
Except it was not.
Much Ado About Nothing
As the winter passed and Spring Training approached, the Tigers really did not make any additional “big” moves other than bringing back Alex Avila and trading a minor leaguer for Mikie Mahtook. Both of those moves turned out well but they were certainly afterthoughts at the time.
Unfortunately, for the Tigers and their fans, their 2017 playoff run never really got off the ground and by the time the MLB trade deadline started to approach, it was obvious that a few players would be traded. That’s exactly what happened as J.D. Martinez was dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Justin Wilson and Alex Avila were sent to the Chicago Cubs. In return, the Tigers received a handful of prospects who may or may not pan out.
It was obvious that Martinez, Wilson, and Avila would be traded, but what about dumping some of the bigger contracts on the team? What about Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, Justin Upton, Ian Kinsler, Jordan Zimmermann, and Victor Martinez? How about dealing Michael Fulmer for some top prospects?
None of those moves happened, though it is still possible as both Verlander and Kinsler have been mentioned in trade rumors.
JV Admits to Being Human
Since the All-Star break, Justin Verlander has been absolutely amazing for the Tigers. Well, at least he was until Tuesday night when he gave up five earned runs, including three home runs, as the Tigers fell to the Texas Rangers 10-4.
Following the game, JV admitted for the first time that all of the trade rumors have been on his mind.
“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t on my mind,” Verlander said after Tuesday’s 10–4 loss to the Rangers. “My dreams tell me otherwise. I think I do a pretty good job when I come here to the ballpark of putting everything in the back of my mind and going about my business, trying to prepare to pitch every fifth game. But there’s been some nights when I wake up and remember dreams of whatever, who knows what team I’m going to. It’s on my mind, that’s for sure, but it’s not going to limit or prohibit me from doing my job here.”
Despite all of the trade rumors floating around and the fact the Tigers are all but eliminated from the playoffs, Verlander knows it’s all part of the game.
“Yeah, it sucks, but that’s part of the game. We’ve been pretty fortunate here to be in the hunt for 10 out of my 12 years at this point of the season. I’ve been very fortunate, and hopefully that can continue, but for right now, I think you have to go out there and do your job. We’re still all professionals. We get paid a lot of money to play this game, and I still take extreme pride in going out there and doing everything that I can to help us win a game.”
Many people, including Detroit Sports Nation, have begun making predictions for the 2018 season and beyond. The Tigers roster projections have begun and some of the big name players currently on the team are not included.
But Verlander seems to disagree with those predictions and he said as much following Tuesday’s game against the Rangers as he talked about a potential rebuild of the Tigers roster. He even including specific names when talking about which players he things will return to Detroit for the 2018 season.
“I think it would be tough to be part of a full rebuild. I don’t know what the plan is. That’s a question for Al. I think from what he’s said in the past, it’s more along the lines of slowly transitioning. It’s not just shipping everybody off, it’s move pieces when and if you can, if you want. Look, I think right now, I look around the locker room and I think Miguel will be back here, I’ll be back here, Kinsler will be back here, Justin Upton will be back here, and a lot of other guys. I think a lot of teams would say that’s a pretty good core. Fulmer, Zimmermann. That’s a pretty good corp of guys. There’s a brighter side to look at than there is right now, in my opinion.”
Whether or not Verlander is correct on which players will be back in the Motor City in 2018, only time will tell. That being said, it’s interesting that he believes the band could be back together again for one final run next season.
Oh, wait, we said that last year too.
*Quotes from Detroit Tigers beat reporter, Jason Beck. Click here for more from his story.