For teams contending for the postseason, rosters must be finalized by midnight ET on August 31. So much like the non-waiver trade deadline last month, be prepared for last-minute deals to be made in the coming days before the calendar flips to September.
That means to expect Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander to be mentioned for about the 50th time in the last two months or so. There are reports that Verlander's name has sprouted up once again, with one familiar team interested and another unknown club.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) August 29, 2017
Tigers general manager Al Avila opted to retain Verlander and some of their other potential veteran assets back in July. And although he quickly cleared through waivers shortly thereafter, Avila said he “wouldn't hold his breath” on a deal getting done in August.Aug 9, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) tips his hat to the crowd as he walks off the field after the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The Astros have remained linked to Verlander both before and after the July 31 trading deadline. There was even news that trade talks were at one point active, coinciding with news of an added wrinkle in the collective bargaining agreement for Major League Baseball that could speed up such a process. But Avila has since then reaffirmed that a deal would be unlikely before September but it could be revisited in the offseason.
Perhaps more intriguing to this report from Jon Paul Morosi is this other “secret” suitor interested in the 34-year-old Verlander. It could be a number of clubs.
In the American League Wild Card race, just six games separate eight teams for the top two spots. Over in the senior circuit, both the Diamondbacks and Rockies were stride for stride with each other and well ahead of the pack for much of the season. But as September draws near, that lead has shrunk dramatically and now just 7.5 games separate five teams.
Verlander has been simply superb since his final start before the All-Star break. He's logged a 2.38 ERA in those 10 starts, chopping nearly a full run off his season ERA in that stretch, which currently sits at 3.90. He toes the slab next on Wednesday against the aforementioned Rockies in Colorado.