Justin Verlander has done enough in his career to be considered one of the game’s greats. There’s just one thing that’s missing from his resume. A World Series Championship. He came so close with the Detroit Tigers, but never got over the hump.
Verlander was drafted in 2004, and it didn’t take him long to become the face of the Detroit franchise. He pitched only one season in the minor leagues before he was called up to the majors. Verlander found himself starting game 1 of the 2006 World Series. However, the Tigers dropped that game to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals went on to take the series in a 4-1 contest, and a Rookie of the Year award was all Verlander had to show for it.
Verlander got his second shot at a title in 2012. That’s when he looked the most dangerous. Most of the baseball world predicted the Tigers to take game 1 with Verlander taking the mound. Pablo Sandoval and the San Francisco Giants had other plans. Sandoval hit three home-runs, two of which came against Verlander, in the first game. An outstanding game snowballed into a World Series sweep for the Giants. Sandoval took home World Series MVP for the Giants.
The talented righty may not be in his prime anymore, but that doesn’t mean his chances at a title are over.
Verlander is now part of a legitimate title contender in the Houston Astros, as he was traded there Thursday.
The #Astros have acquired RHP Justin Verlander and a PTBNL or cash from the Tigers.
— #AstrosHarvey (@astros) September 1, 2017
According to USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale, the deal wasn’t easy, but both clubs were able to get it done.
“With a $22 million vesting option for 2020, Verlander has up to $78 million remaining on his contract after this season and full no-trade protection, which made a deal burdensome. But the two clubs got it done with not more than seconds to spare before Verlander would no longer be postseason-eligible for the Astros this year.”
The Tigers received three prospects in return, and it appears they’re poised for a rebuild.
Astros owner Jim Crane is excited for Justin Verlanders arrival. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
The Astros (80-53) were the hot team to start the season this year. The team still has a 11.5 game lead in the AL Central, and should be a shoe-in for the playoffs. However, they’ve taken the back seat to the Los Angeles Dodgers (91-41) as the best team in baseball. Houston has lost 20 of their last 31 games, and is looking for some momentum. Astros owner Jim Crane is hoping this will start with the pitching staff, especially Verlander. He had this to say of his team’s acquisition.
“I think he’ll add a dimension we don’t have. He’s pitched well his whole career and has been pitching well lately. I think he’ll add a dimension in the playoffs, hopefully, when we get there. I think it’s great for the team, I think the players will be excited and fans will be excited.”
It will be an unusual sight for fans, as the Astros uniform is sported by Verlander for the rest of season. Verlander himself, on the other hand, should feel more than comfortable with a chance to compete on the highest level.
[Featured Image by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images]