While the Tigers have reportedly set a lofty asking price for right-hander Justin Verlander, his performance this year is going to make finding a taker difficult, says FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (video link). Across 104 2/3 innings, Verlander has seen his ERA (4.73), strikeout (8.43 K/9) and walk (4.39 BB/9) rates trend in the wrong direction, and ERA indicators such as FIP (4.28) and xFIP (4.99) also paint a somewhat bleak picture. Thanks in part to his struggles this season, teams view Verlander as a diminishing asset and aren’t going to surrender top prospects for him unless Detroit absorbs a significant portion of his contract, reports Rosenthal. Verlander is due roughly $70MM through 2019.
More from Rosenthal:
- Because the reigning World Series champion Cubs have been mired in mediocrity all season, club officials have considered trading a young position player to jump-start the team, according to Rosenthal. Such a move would presumably land the Cubs a sorely needed controllable starting pitcher. The problem, Rosenthal points out, is that Chicago doesn’t have any obvious trade candidates among those position players. First baseman Anthony Rizzo and third baseman Kris Bryant obviously aren’t going anywhere. Meanwhile, catcher Willson Contreras and rookie outfielder/second baseman Ian Happ have also been key cogs, and, per Rosenthal, the Cubs remain bullish on struggling left fielder Kyle Schwarber. Turning to the middle infield, Major League Baseball is looking into a domestic violence allegation against shortstop Addison Russell, which doesn’t do his trade value any favors, and Rosenthal indicates that Javier Baez’s versatility makes him too important to deal.
- With a wild-card spot in hand, the surprising Diamondbacks will take an “aggressive” approach leading up to the deadline, relays Rosenthal. Acquiring pitching depth and another bat (either in the form of a middle infielder or outfielder) are possibilities for Arizona. The Diamondbacks’ position player group has taken hits in recent weeks with shortstop Nick Ahmed’s fractured hand an outfielder Yasmany Tomas’ groin issues. Swinging impactful trades could be difficult for the D-backs because of their weak farm system, but Rosenthal notes that they do have some financial flexibility.
- The scuffling Orioles are unsure how they’ll approach the deadline, general manager Dan Duquette informed Rosenthal. By selling, they’d gain access to much-needed young talent, Rosenthal observes. The O’s essentially punt on international spending, evidenced recently by multiple trades that have seen them relinquish international bonus slots for run-of-the-mill minor leaguers, and Rosenthal explains that they turned in an unimpressive performance in the draft this year. So, to help restock its young talent pool, Rosenthal contends that Baltimore should shop closer Zach Britton, arguing that certain championship hopefuls would eagerly pursue a healthy version of the left-hander. Britton hasn’t been the picture of health this year, though, having landed on the disabled list multiple times (including a 60-day stint) on account of forearm issues.