Justin Verlander Trade Rumors: Houston Astros, Detroit Tigers Still Interested In Verlander Deal?

Justin Verlander trade rumors continue, with the Houston Astros still interested in acquiring him from the Detroit Tigers. The Astros had discussed the acquisition of Verlander before the July 31 MLB trade deadline, but nothing could get completed. A report by ESPN confirmed that Verlander then cleared waivers for the Tigers, allowing the team to trade him before August 31. Since then, the Astros and Tigers have entered negotiations again, all with the intent to send the former Cy Young Award winner to a new team.

This is a hot topic again because baseball analyst Peter Gammons was talking about the Justin Verlander trade rumors on MLB Network on Tuesday morning (August 15). He noted that the two sides have not spoken about the deal this week, but had, indeed, been negotiating the terms of a trade last week. There are several issues holding up a possible trade, as the Astros don’t want to pay the full salary that Verlander is owed, while the Tigers expect to get back several good prospects in any deal that includes Verlander.

Many baseball fans were unsure whether Verlander was still good enough to make an impact down the stretch. Then, on August 9, he allowed only one hit against the Pittsburgh Pirates in an impressive performance. Not only did this make him more attractive to Houston Astros fans but also to fans of the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, and Chicago Cubs. Those are three more teams that could use pitching in the race to the 2017 MLB Playoffs.

In 24 starts for the Detroit Tigers this season, Justin Verlander has an 8-7 record, a 3.97 ERA, and a 1.359 WHIP. Those numbers are a bit down from the 16-9 record, 3.04 ERA, and 1.001 WHIP he had during the 2016 MLB season. He also finished second in the Cy Young Award voting, pitching 227 2/3 innings of work and striking out 254 batters. The 34-year-old starting pitcher could certainly be an improvement for quite a few pitching staffs around the league.

Nearly all of the Justin Verlander trade rumors come down to the $28 million salary he is owed in each of the next two seasons. If he finishes as one of the top five pitchers in the 2019 Cy Young vote, he has a $22 million option that becomes fully guaranteed for the 2020 MLB season. That’s all in addition to the $28 million he makes this year for the Detroit Tigers. The money is a big detractor in the trade market, especially for a team like the Astros that continuously tries to save money.

To top it all off, Verlander also still has a no-trade clause in his contract, meaning he can decline a deal with the Astros. On paper, adding Verlander to a team that has an offense as good as the Houston Astros should improve that team enough to make them a serious World Series threat. What might kill this deal, though, is that the Tigers will only pay part of the contract if the Astros give up good enough prospects to make it worth the money. For now, the Justin Verlander trade rumors could become quiet until the Astros get desperate.

[Featured Image by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images]