Too often overlooked in the general talk about Justin Verlander’s contract serving as an impediment to a theoretical trade is the amount of leverage that Verlander’s no-trade clause gives him, opines ESPN’s Buster Olney. Verlander currently can’t become a free agent until after his age-36 season, but his recent return to form would give him the ability to hold out for a contract extension in order to green-light a move to another club. (One middle ground, speculatively speaking, could be to push for his $22MM vesting option for the 2020 season to be exercised in advance.) A strong finish could make that all the more true if the Tigers hold him and look to move him this offseason. Verlander’s last seven starts have resulted in a 1.71 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9, though he’s still received some help in terms of BABIP (.229) and strand rate (91 percent) in that time.
More from the AL Central…
- Andrew Miller is scheduled to make a minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday this week, and the Indians are expecting him to need just one appearance before being activated, per Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. If all goes well, that seems to point to a total of roughly two weeks on the shelf for Miller, who hit the disabled list back on Aug. 3. Hoynes also notes that outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall began a rehab assignment on Sunday, so he could return from a lengthier absence (on the disabled list since July 9) in the relatively near future as well.
- The White Sox will monitor Reynaldo Lopez’s workload over the rest of the season, manager Rick Renteria tells Brian Sandalow of the Chicago Sun-Times, though the skipper declined to divulge a specific innings cap on the ballyhooed young righty. “I think everybody is very cognizant of pitch counts,” said Renteria. “Like we talked about last night, he has wipeout type stuff. He can strike out a lot of guys. Those guys tend to elevate in their pitch counts sometimes. We will be mindful of that.” Lopez totaled 153 1/3 innings between the Majors, Triple-A and Double-A last season. He’s currently pitched 127 innings between Triple-A Charlotte and his lone start with the ChiSox.
- Following last night’s trade of Tyler Clippard to the Astros, the White Sox don’t have a single player on their roster with a save in 2017, as MLB.com’s Scott Merkin points out. Clippard, David Robertson, Dan Jennings, Tommy Kahnle and Anthony Swarzak have all been dealt to other clubs in the past five weeks, while excellent setup man Nate Jones is out for the remainder of the 2017 season. Merkin suggests that Jake Petricka and rookies Brad Goldberg and Aaron Bummer could all be candidates to get some save opportunities. Petricka, who has 16 career saves after spending part of the 2014 season as Chicago’s primary stopper, seems to be the logical candidate for saves of that bunch. However, each of the three has struggled considerably at the big league level in 2017. Of the others currently in the South Siders’ bullpen (depth chart), Greg Infante and Juan Minaya have had the best results this season.