Justin Verlander Trade Rumors: Astros, Tigers Discussing Potential Deal

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2017

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 04: Starting pitcher Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers throws a pitch to a Baltimore Orioles batter in the seventh inning during a game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 4, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Houston Astros are reportedly engaged in active trade discussions about longtime Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander.

On Tuesday, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports noted the talks are ongoing, but a "decent gap" remains due to Verlander's hefty contract and Detroit's asking price.

The 34-year-old starter cleared revocable waivers in early August, which makes him eligible to be traded until August 31, per Anthony Fenech‏ of the Detroit Free Press.

Verlander is enduring a down year by his typically high standards. He's posted a 3.97 ERA and 1.36 WHIP across 24 starts. The 2014 season, when he finished with a 4.54 ERA and 1.40 WHIP, is the only year since 2009 he's tallied higher numbers than the current campaign.

The veteran starter put together a much better 2016 season with a 3.04 ERA and 1.00 WHIP and has maintained a rock-solid strikeout rate this season, whiffing 142 batters.

Will Burchfield of CBS Detroit passed along comments from Verlander before the non-waiver deadline about what he considered a win-win situation.

"I guess that makes it easier on me personally," he said. "I definitely would not be upset about staying here in Detroit, and again, because I control my own destiny, it wouldn't be somewhere I don't want to go [in the event of a trade]."

Verlander possesses a full no-trade clause in his current contract, which pays him a $28 million base salary each of the next two years followed by a vested option for 2020 at $22 million, according to Spotrac.

Heyman reported the Tigers are willing to eat some of that remaining money, but they also want a return package to meet the ace's track record, which makes a deal a "long shot."

The struggling Astros might be getting more desperate to make a splash, though. They have gone just 3-7 over their past 10 games and now lead the Boston Red Sox, who are 8-2 over the same span, by just five games for the best record in the American League.

Adding Verlander would bolster a rotation that already features Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Charlie Morton and, once healthy, Lance McCullers.