RUMOR: Is Justin Verlander staying put in Detroit?

Who is staying and who is moving? All of those questions will be answered between now and 4 p.m. ET on Monday.

Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander remains one of the more appealing names on the market. There’s no shortage of teams who would like to nab the former Cy Young and MVP winner. However, as has been the case for the last month, there are countless hurdles to leap over for any deal to take place.

It is precisely those hurdles that appear to be decreasing the chances that Verlander is dealt some time before Monday. A recent report from Ken Rosenthal would support that.

If a deal happens – and the odds remain heavily against it – the framework would need to be agreed upon well before the deadline.

Verlander, as a player with 10 years of service, five consecutive with the same club, would need to approve any deal, and the commissioner’s office would need to approve any cash exchange of more than $1 million, which would be likely occur in this case.

Everybody and their mother and brother know the various obstacles both the Tigers and any potential buyer for Verlander. The biggest one, not surprisingly, is the contract. Verlander is still owed a minimum of $56 million through the 2019 season (with a possible $22M option for 2020).

Oct 2, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) throws a pitch against the Atlanta Braves in the fifth inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

We highlighted that there is no shortage of interest in Verlander. The Cubs and Dodgers have been the reported front-runners in recent weeks, with the Brewers and Astros also having shown reported interest as well. But as is the case with all of these clubs, they seem to be at major odds with the Tigers when it comes to taking on the remainder of Verlander’s salary.

There’s also Verlander’s no-trade clause in his contract. He has all the power in any proposed deal. The vibe is that Verlander would want to go to a contender in “win now” mode, and nearly all of the teams listed above fit that bill for sure.

Then there is the potential return package Detroit is seeking. Not surprisingly, they are looking for a substantial crop of prospects in addition to shedding as much of his salary as possible. This wrinkle has further complicated talks. And as Rosenthal points out, as long as Detroit and [insert trade partner here] remain far apart, a trade will almost not happen between now and Monday.

Rosenthal does add in his latest report that while any trade involving Verlander is increasingly unlikely, he notes that two other Tigers still remain high on the wish list of other teams.

One person with knowledge of the Tigers’ thinking said there is a “low probability” that Verlander will be moved. Reliever Justin Wilson, on the other hand, is almost certain to be gone, and catcher Alex Avila figures to go, too.


Written by Alex Muller

MSU Graduate. Just a city boy born and raised in south Detroit. Baseball is life, a pitcher at heart. Freelance writer for MIPrepZone (News-Herald, Press & Guide).

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