As the trade deadline approaches, the possibility of the Tigers dealing right-hander Justin Verlander seems more realistic than ever before, suggests Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Tigers, who own the American League’s third-worst record (36-43) and are trying to cut payroll, would be willing to eat some of the money remaining on Verlander’s contract, per Cafardo. In addition to what’s left of his $28MM salary this season, Verlander is due $28MM in each of the next two seasons. Additionally, Verlander has a $22MM vesting option for 2020, but that will only trigger if he finishes in the top five of the AL Cy Young voting in 2019. Of course, it’s also worth noting that the 34-year-old has full no-trade rights.
More of Cafardo’s weekly rumblings:
- Having rallied from a dreadful start to climb over .500 (40-39) and into the playoff race, the Royals could look to acquire a front-line pitcher by the deadline, a team official told Cafardo. “We’re constantly evaluating where we are, but right now we feel we have a chance to take the division,” said the official. “Our core players are all playing well right now. If that changes, we have time to make that change, but we’re proceeding like we’re in this to win.” Kansas City is just two games back in the AL Central and a half-game out of the wild card, so the team certainly doesn’t look as if it has the makings of a seller. As such, agent Scott Boras doesn’t expect the Royals to move clients Eric Hosmer or Mike Moustakas, both of whom will be eligible for free agency after the season.
- The Athletics are likely to trade relievers Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle, according to Cafardo, who names the Nationals and Yankees as potential suitors. Madson, who’s on a $7.5MM salary both this year and next, has bounced back from a so-so 2016 to post a 2.53 ERA, 8.72 K/9, 1.69 BB/9 and a 53.6 percent ground-ball rate in 32 innings this season. The oft-injured Doolittle has only thrown 16 1/3 frames, but he has been highly effective (3.31 ERA, 12.67 K/9, 1.1 BB/9); what’s more, he’s controllable for reasonable prices through 2020.
- Another reliever, the Mets’ Addison Reed, could also end up on the move. Odds are, though, that he won’t head to the Nationals, writes Cafardo. The Mets apparently aren’t open to helping the NL East rival Nats fix their bullpen issues.