Aug. 4: Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Verlander has cleared revocable waivers (Twitter link). As such, the Tigers will be able to freely discuss trades of Verlander from now through the end of the 2017 season, though he’d need to be on a new team’s roster before Sept. 1 in order to be eligible for the postseason roster.
Aug. 2: Tigers righty Justin Verlander was placed on revocable waivers on Wednesday, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. It’s worth emphasizing, especially early in the month, that the move comes as no surprise. Teams will place the vast majority of their rosters on revocable waivers this month in an effort to gauge interest and also as a smokescreen to mask which players they may actually be more amenable to trading. There’s no downside, after all, as each club has the right to pull a player back from waivers the first time that he is claimed.
[Related: How August Trades Work]
That said, Verlander’s placement is among the more notable instances of this largely procedural move. With about $65.3MM owed to Verlander through the completion of the 2019 season, he’s exceedingly likely to clear. At that point, the Tigers will be able to continue discussing trades with all 29 other teams in the league, though Verlander’s full no-trade clause and sizable contract will continue to serve as significant impediments to working out a trade. (Notably, Crasnick reminds that Verlander’s no-trade protection would allow him to even veto a claim in the unlikely event that a club places a claim and the Tigers were willing to let him go for nothing.)
At last check, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reported that the Tigers were only willing to pay the remainder of Verlander’s 2017 salary — a sum that currently stands at about $9.33MM. That’d leave any team on the hook for $56MM from 2018-19 in the event of a Verlander trade.
The 34-year-old Verlander hasn’t been himself in 2017, as he’s averaged fewer than six innings per start with an elevated 4.2 BB/9 rate and a diminished 8.7 K/9 rate. The deteriorated ground-ball rate he’s displayed in recent years has also held up, as he’s checked in at 33.9 percent in that regard. Overall, Verlander has a 4.29 ERA through 130 frames this year, though his fastball velocity remains as strong as ever (95.2 mph average). And, to his credit, Verlander has been much better in his past 32 innings in terms of ERA (2.25), though his 3.7 BB/9 rate in that time is still a lofty mark — especially by his excellent standards.
The Cubs, Astros, Dodgers and Brewers were among the teams linked to the former Rookie of the Year, Cy Young winner and American League MVP prior to the non-waiver deadline. The Dodgers, of course, went on to pick up Yu Darvish in a last-minute deadline blockbuster, while the Cubs made a significant rotation splash in mid-July by acquiring Jose Quintana from the crosstown White Sox.