There remains an outside chance that Houston will trade for Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander this month, as the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo hears from major league sources that the Astros haven’t closed the door on acquiring the fireballer. There have been a slew of reports since last month on the possibility of Verlander going to the Astros, including one from FanRag’s Jon Heyman earlier this week. A source told Heyman that negotiations between the two teams had been “put to bed.” For his part, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow doesn’t expect to make a big acquisition before the month’s out. To land Verlander, who’s still due around $7MM this season and another $56MM from 2018-19, the Luhnow-led Astros would need to take on the majority of his contract and “give up a few prospects,” Cafardo writes. Not all prospects are created equally, of course, and the Tigers want legitimate young talent in return for the longtime ace and franchise icon, per various reports.
More from the American League:
- Left fielder Justin Upton, another of the Tigers’ high-priced veterans, currently doesn’t plan to opt out of his contract in the offseason, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (via Twitter). A change of heart, which could happen given Upton’s superlative production and the Tigers’ rebuilding status, would mean walking away from the guaranteed $88MM he’s due through 2021. The soon-to-be 30-year-old Upton wasn’t great in 2016, the first season of the $132.75MM accord, but has rebounded to slash an excellent .283/.367/.542 with 25 home runs, 10 stolen bases and 4.0 fWAR through 479 plate appearances in the current campaign.
- Right-hander Lucas Giolito will make his White Sox debut Tuesday with a start against the Twins, relays Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). The Sox acquired Giolito and a pair of fellow pitching prospects, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning, from the Nationals last winter for outfielder Adam Eaton. Giolito has since turned in 128 2/3 Triple-A innings of 4.48 ERA ball, to go with 9.37 K/9, 4.13 BB/9 and a 44.4 percent ground-ball rate. Once among the game’s most celebrated prospects, the big 23-year-old has lost some luster over the past couple seasons, though he still factors into the summer top 100 lists of FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen (No. 35), MLB.com (No. 59) and Baseball America (No. 75).
- Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi profiles Blue Jays outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez, whom the team acquired from the Astros for left-hander Francisco Liriano last month. Hernandez actually made his major league debut in Toronto in August 2016 and collected his first hit, a home run, against Liriano. The Dominican Republic native then called his mother and told her he’d love to play for Toronto eventually. Unsurprisingly, then, Hernandez reacted with elation when Astros assistant GM Mike Elias broke the news of the trade to him. “He told me I just got traded for Francisco Liriano and when first he told me that, I was like, ‘Really? Is this happening?’” Hernandez said. “Then I felt so happy. I don’t know why. My first reaction was like the same one when I got called up (to the majors) last year – I was so excited.” Hernandez, 24, has played with Triple-A Buffalo – not Toronto – since the deal, but rival executives Davidi polled expect him to at least serve as a quality fourth outfielder for the Jays.