Justin Verlander Trade Rumors: Tigers SP Reportedly Drawing Interest from Astros

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2017

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander throws to the Baltimore Orioles during a baseball game in Baltimore, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

The Houston Astros reportedly had contact with the Detroit Tigers about a potential trade involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander.

On Sunday, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported the news, citing sources who said the contact occurred "this month." However, Morosi cautioned it is "unclear if there is momentum in talks" between the two teams.  

While the non-waiver trade deadline came and went on July 31 with Verlander still in a Tigers uniform, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reported the right-hander cleared revocable trade waivers.

That makes Verlander eligible to be traded this season, although his contract could pose a barrier to any potential deal. According to Spotrac, the 34-year-old will make $28 million every season until 2020, when a vesting option for $22 million kicks in.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports wrote before the non-waiver deadline "rival teams simply want no part" of Verlander's contract.

However, Houston is in a unique win-now scenario at a dominant 71-40. It is 15 games ahead of the second-place Seattle Mariners in the American League West, and anything less than a World Series appearance could be seen as a failure after such an overwhelming start to the season.

While Verlander would add a proven name to the rotation before the stretch run and playoffs, he has a 4.20 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 137 innings. He has been nowhere near what he was as recently as 2016 with a 3.04 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 254 strikeouts in 227.2 innings.

However, he allowed just 10 earned runs in his last six starts and is starting to show signs of the dominant pitcher he has been in the past. He still has six All-Star appearances, the 2006 AL Rookie of the Year, the 2011 AL Cy Young and the 2011 AL MVP on his resume.

Most notably from Houston's perspective, Verlander boasts a solid 3.39 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 16 postseason starts throughout his career. He is an available veteran with playoff experience for a team looking to turn the corner in October after losing in the 2015 AL Division Series and missing the postseason entirely last year.

Now the Astros have to decide if those traits are worth the cost of Verlander's contract.