Right-hander Justin Verlander met with reporters Sunday and explained his decision to waive his no-trade clause to go from the Tigers to the Astros in a stunning Aug. 31 trade. Given that Verlander had been in the Detroit organization since it drafted him second overall in 2004 and evolved into a Tigers icon, it was understandably difficult for him to leave. “At one point I was kind of pacing back and forth in my living room — it was just [fiancée] Kate [Upton] and I — and I’m going, ’Trust your instincts, trust your instincts. What are your instincts telling you?'” Verlander said (via Brian McTaggart of MLB.com). “I was just so caught in between with emotion and excitement of a new ballclub, and ultimately, it came down to winning and joining an organization that’s set up to win for a long time.”
For the teams involved, the Verlander deal was a tough one to work out, as Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press details in a fascinating piece. The Tigers rejected multiple proposals from the Astros on Thursday, when the trade ultimately went down late at night, and it looked as if the sides would table talks until the offseason. The clubs finally agreed on a return, and Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow called Tigers GM Al Avila around 11:30 p.m. ET to inform him that Houston would pick up $16MM of the remaining $58MM left on Verlander’s contract. Then, the Tigers dispatched two baseball operations officials to Verlander’s house so he’d provide a signature agreeing to waive his no-trade rights. Verlander did, of course, but he initially had reservations about going to the Astros. While Fenech reports that the 34-year-old never rejected a trade to Houston, he had concerns about shifting to their ballpark. Discussions with Astros owner Jim Crane and manager A.J. Hinch did enough to assuage Verlander, however, and the longtime ace then called Avila to inform him he’d accept the trade, paving the way for a blockbuster that came in barely before the 11:59 p.m. ET waiver deadline.
More from around the game:
- It doesn’t appear that the Marlins’ low-spending ways will change when their new ownership group takes over, but their fate would have been different had local businessman Jorge Mas purchased the team, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. Unlike owners-to-be Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, Mas would not have planned to slash payroll had he put forth the winning bid for the franchise. Mas finished as the runner-up to Sherman and Jeter, who are at the helm of a faction that agreed last month to buy the Marlins from Jeffrey Loria for $1.2 billion.
- Not long ago, it looked as though the Angels were going to continue wasting Mike Trout’s presence, but both the present and near future suddenly look bright in Anaheim, Joel Sherman of the New York Post observes. Having traded for all-world shortstop Andrelton Simmons and big-hitting left fielder Justin Upton during his two-year run as the Angels’ general manager, Billy Eppler has given Trout a pair of quality position player complements who, like the center fielder, are under contract through 2020, Sherman notes (though Upton may well opt out after the season). The Angels could add to that group with a free agent like Eric Hosmer or Mike Moustakas during the offseason, writes Sherman, who also names Alex Cobb as a potential offseason target for their rotation. Additionally, Sherman lauds Eppler for improving a farm system that was nearly barren upon his arrival. Regardless of whether the playoff-contending Angels qualify for the postseason in 2017, then, they’re beginning to look like a team that could capitalize on having Trout before his contract expires.
- The Dodgers plan to recall outfielder Joc Pederson sometime this season, manager Dave Roberts told reporters, including Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, on Sunday (Twitter link). “I would expect Joc back. Nothing is set in stone,” Roberts said of Pederson, whom the Dodgers optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque on Aug. 19. The 25-year-old has batted a shockingly poor .158/.222/.281 in 63 minor league plate appearances, continuing a disappointing sseason that has seen him hit .215/.329/.418 in 295 PAs with the Dodgers. P ederson’s major league line this year has been average, not bad, but it still represents a clear drop-off from his production during the prior two seasons.