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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

As the Tigers falter, Justin Verlander emerges as an intriguing trade possibility

Multiple front-office sources told Yahoo Sports they expect Verlander to hit the trade market sometime in the next two weeks. This is more tea-leaf reading than any indication Tigers general manager Al Avila has given in conversations with teams. Still, if the Tigers do punt on 2017 – their 34-42 record is the AL’s second worst – they could begin a rebuild in earnest without a franchise icon.

That and Verlander’s performance this season are both tangible issues, as would be his trade value, all three of which could combine to make a deal difficult to consummate. Even though Verlander is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, the Tigers would not view a deal of him as a pure money dump.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 28, 2017 at 11:44 AM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: justin verlander, tigers, trade rumors

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   1. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 28, 2017 at 01:09 PM (#5484560)
That's a lot of coin for 34 y.o. with deteriorating peripherals and meh results.
   2. jmurph Posted: June 28, 2017 at 01:46 PM (#5484613)
That's a lot of coin for 34 y.o. with deteriorating peripherals and meh results.

Seriously. I hope Dombrowski isn't interested in reuniting with him.
   3. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 28, 2017 at 01:48 PM (#5484617)
IDK -- people said he was done prior to last year, too -- and his 2016 was a fine, fine year. I mean - he led the AL in Ks, finished 2nd in CYA balloting (and deserved to be at least top 3). The walks are way up this year -- but the K rate is still quite strong.

I'm sure no one is selling the farm for him, but any rich team could do a lot worse with just a B or couple C prospect deals.

THe problem for the Tigers is that unless they are willing to eat a hefty amount of dollars, it severely limits their options as only the Yankees/Cubs/Red Sox/Dodgers are likely to afford 28 mil next year.

I would not be unhappy if the Cubs got him - they could certainly use the rotation help.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 28, 2017 at 02:02 PM (#5484635)
He would be the first player ever dealt at the July trade deadline that I have seen naked.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 28, 2017 at 02:03 PM (#5484637)
IDK -- people said he was done prior to last year, too -- and his 2016 was a fine, fine year. I mean - he led the AL in Ks, finished 2nd in CYA balloting (and deserved to be at least top 3). The walks are way up this year -- but the K rate is still quite strong.

K-rate is down from 10/9 to 8.75. BB-rate is up from 2.25/9 to 4.2. That's ugly.


THe problem for the Tigers is that unless they are willing to eat a hefty amount of dollars, it severely limits their options as only the Yankees/Cubs/Red Sox/Dodgers are likely to afford 28 mil next year.

Yankees want to get under the luxury tax threshold in preparation for the 2018 FA armageddon.
   6. jmurph Posted: June 28, 2017 at 02:05 PM (#5484641)
He would be the first player ever dealt at the July trade deadline that I have seen naked.

Presumably if this extends to the waiver period it's a longer list?
   7. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 28, 2017 at 02:10 PM (#5484648)
So much the better.

LIke I said, I'd be perfectly happy for Thed to at least inquire. I'd respond with a hangup if the Tigers brought up anyone like Eloy Jiminez, but if they'd be satisfied just getting 50 million off the books and a some lottery tickets from the top 15 to top 30 org prospect list, I'd be very interested.

Even aside from the troubles in the rotation this year -- the Cubs are going to need at least two, perhaps three SPs next year anyway.... and overpaying for one year of a Verlander beyond this season wouldn't be a terrible thing. I really do think he'd have no problem approximating the 2016 version of John Lackey and who knows -- he might very well duplicate his own 2016 again (though, doing so would trigger the 2019 option... but then, 22 mil for a top 5 CYA finalist isn't a bad deal either).
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 28, 2017 at 02:13 PM (#5484650)

Presumably if this extends to the waiver period it's a longer list?


Well there was this one crazy night I met Josh Willingham....
   9. Ziggy: The Platonic Form of Russell Branyan Posted: June 28, 2017 at 02:15 PM (#5484651)
He's been roughly average this year, projects a little better than that. What are we using as the cost of a win now, $8mm? If so we should expect him to be worth something like $20/year. If that's right, the Tigers shouldn't expect to get a prospect back, they should expect to eat $8mm/year and get nothing back. They might find a deal where a team values an extra win a lot more than the Tigers do, but I think even talking B prospects is pretty optimistic.
   10. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: June 28, 2017 at 02:17 PM (#5484655)
I don't think I've seen him pitch at all this season, but it looks like it's the walks that are killing him right now. Last season made it seem like maybe he'd finally made that tough transition from flamethrower to "pitcher" that guys sort of need to make if they want to continue to be effective into their mid-30s and beyond.
   11. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: June 28, 2017 at 02:18 PM (#5484656)
I'd respond with a hangup if the Tigers brought up anyone like Eloy Jiminez,


This is the problem with trying to trade a guy like Verlander. The Tigers almost certainly are going to put him out there and trade him as a franchise player and want a massive return. He's not going to be traded as if he is as snapper correctly notes a "34 year old with deteriorating peripherals and meh results." If you're the Tigers it doesn't hurt to put him out there but I'd be shocked if he got dealt.
   12. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 28, 2017 at 02:23 PM (#5484661)
This is the problem with trying to trade a guy like Verlander. The Tigers almost certainly are going to put him out there and trade him as a franchise player and want a massive return. He's not going to be traded as if he is as snapper correctly notes a "34 year old with deteriorating peripherals and meh results." If you're the Tigers it doesn't hurt to put him out there but I'd be shocked if he got dealt.


Yup. In a lot of ways, his 2016 actually makes it harder to trade him. I'm not sure it's even a FO perspective as it is just a PR perspective. You need several years of ".... is available!" before people finally catch on to being OK with Corey Black as the return!
   13. Ziggy: The Platonic Form of Russell Branyan Posted: June 28, 2017 at 02:46 PM (#5484683)
I wonder how much bad PR hurts a team's bottom line. Do people really not go to the park/not renew their cable subscriptions because the team traded a favorite player (or the local writers make a big deal about trading a player)? Since it's a question worth millions of dollars (it could decide whether or not Verlander gets traded) you'd think someone would do a study.

Another possibility is that it doesn't do anything to a team's bottom line, but that executives tend to get fired when the team takes heat in the press.
   14. DanG Posted: June 28, 2017 at 03:20 PM (#5484741)
Verlander is climbing high on many of the all-time Tiger lists, already #2 in strikeouts. Here are the top ten in wins:

Player            W   L   WAR WAA/pit  SO ERAFrom  To
Hooks Dauss      223 182 35.1    3.2 1201  102 1912 1926
George Mullin    209 179 35.1    4.6 1380  102 1902 1913
Mickey Lolich    207 175 47.6   18.4 2679  105 1963 1975
Hal Newhouser    200 148 59.1   36.8 1770  130 1939 1953
Jack Morris      198 150 38.0   11.0 1980  108 1977 1990
Tommy Bridges    194 138 52.6   26.9 1674  126 1930 1946
Justin Verlander 178 110 51.8   29.0 2289  121 2005 2017
Dizzy Trout      161 153 45.2   25.6 1199  125 1939 1952
Bill Donovan     140  96 34.5   15.4 1079  109 1903 1918
Earl Whitehill   133 119 24.9    3.7  838  104 1923 1932 
   15. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: June 28, 2017 at 03:25 PM (#5484747)
I wonder how much bad PR hurts a team's bottom line. Do people really not go to the park/not renew their cable subscriptions because the team traded a favorite player (or the local writers make a big deal about trading a player)? Since it's a question worth millions of dollars (it could decide whether or not Verlander gets traded) you'd think someone would do a study.


I suspect the impact is in a few areas;

- TV viewership declines hurting ad buys.
- Merchandise sales decline.
- Concession sales decline as people attending games decide to go to a local pub for a burger rather than racing to get to the ballpark and grab a dog at the game.
- General "buzz" declines with presumably assorted declines in various areas including the things mentioned above and walk up ticket sales.

Just guessing here admittedly.
   16. RMc's Unenviable Situation Posted: June 28, 2017 at 03:53 PM (#5484789)
Somewhere, Hooks Dauss (who's held the Tigers win record since 1925) is breathing a sigh of relief.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: June 28, 2017 at 06:15 PM (#5484919)
I suppose having Verlander around on a John Lackey Memorial contract for 2018-19 wouldn't be too bad. But I don't see him as an upgrade on Lackey or Arrieta. But it's true the 2018-19 Cubs do have to find innings somewhere.
   18. The Duke Posted: June 28, 2017 at 06:29 PM (#5484927)
If the Tigers waived him, would you put in a claim knowing they might not pull him
Back? I'm guessing most teams would take that risk. Not sure he's worth more than that though.
   19. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: June 28, 2017 at 06:35 PM (#5484931)
K-rate is down from 10/9 to 8.75. BB-rate is up from 2.25/9 to 4.2. That's ugly


It is. But maybe the catching in Detroit isn't too good either. He's throwing to Avila most of the time, not the best defensive catcher around. What are his framing stats like? I'd be curious to see one of those fangraphs pitching charts showing where Verlander is missing the plate, etc.

If he gets moved to a team with a noted good framer behind the dish, maybe that can help steal another K and lower the BB to 3 per 9 innings. Sure the BB still isn't great but if the K rate is above 9, then you've got something far more effective. Yes, I'm squinting to see a bright side here. I like Verlander, he's been fun to watch over the past several years and I hope he can at least go back to being pretty good.
   20. Ziggy: The Platonic Form of Russell Branyan Posted: June 28, 2017 at 07:11 PM (#5484951)
Merch sales are split between the clubs, so that's not going to hurt much. Maybe TV viewership would be an issue. I keep thinking of a study James did in the 80s though, about ticket sales with a good pitching match up. Turned out it was basically no different than any other game between the two teams at issue.
   21. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 28, 2017 at 07:21 PM (#5484957)
If the Tigers waived him, would you put in a claim knowing they might not pull him
Back? I'm guessing most teams would take that risk. Not sure he's worth more than that though.


He definitely is worth more than that... it's his contract that isn't.

Nobody passes on him if he's making 1/10th what he makes.

The only question is how much of a discount someone gets over that contract in any potential acquisition.
   22. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 28, 2017 at 08:18 PM (#5484984)
He would be the first player ever dealt at the July trade deadline that I have seen naked.


That's only because the legendary Williams-for-DiMaggio trade fell through. (Warning: It's not Ted, and the image contains a less than splendid splinter.)
   23. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: June 28, 2017 at 08:38 PM (#5484988)
Verlander has been kind of up and down lately. He was not a good pitcher in 2014, though he made a full slate of starts. Was there any explanation for his crappy 2014? A hidden injury that didn't cost him time until 2015? Then back to being a Cy Young contender in 2016 and now mediocre. I really have no idea what to make of him at this point.
   24. Cooper Nielson Posted: June 28, 2017 at 10:49 PM (#5485027)
IDK -- people said he was done prior to last year, too -- and his 2016 was a fine, fine year. I mean - he led the AL in Ks, finished 2nd in CYA balloting (and deserved to be at least top 3). The walks are way up this year -- but the K rate is still quite strong.

Verlander after 16 starts last year: 7-6, 4.30 ERA, 104.2 IP, 107 K, 28 BB, 16 HR, .708 OPS against.
Verlander after 16 starts this year: 5-4, 4.47 ERA, 94.2 IP, 92K, 44 BB, 10 HR, .725 OPS against.

So he's been a bit worse this year, but most of that is due to his control (too many walks), which has led to higher pitch counts and shorter outings. That's something that's possibly fixable, and he's only walked 1 batter in each of his last two starts.
   25. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 29, 2017 at 07:39 AM (#5485087)
He would be the first player ever dealt at the July trade deadline that I have seen naked.

You must have missed Jose Reyes' turn on the cover of the ESPN body issue.
   26. Ithaca2323 Posted: June 29, 2017 at 09:05 AM (#5485110)
I wonder how much bad PR hurts a team's bottom line. Do people really not go to the park/not renew their cable subscriptions because the team traded a favorite player (or the local writers make a big deal about trading a player)? Since it's a question worth millions of dollars (it could decide whether or not Verlander gets traded) you'd think someone would do a study.


Maybe, but I suspect this is less of an issue if the player is a starting pitcher. I mean, you're not going to see him in ~128 games anyway. It might be that you make it a special point to see his starts, and just casually watch the rest of the time. I was pretty much like that with Mike Mussina in 2008. But taking your wallet and going home seems like it'd be a much bigger issue for a position player
   27. TDF didn't lie, he just didn't remember Posted: June 29, 2017 at 09:15 AM (#5485113)
Nobody passes on him if he's making 1/10th what he makes.
No ####. Verlander at less than $3M/yr is a crazy steal.

If he's making half as much ($14M/yr) contending teams are lining up at the door to trade for him.
   28. Nasty Nate Posted: June 29, 2017 at 09:22 AM (#5485116)
What does 1/10th have to do with a hypothetical waiver claim? They would be claiming the whole contract, right?
   29. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 29, 2017 at 10:04 AM (#5485139)
What does 1/10th have to do with a hypothetical waiver claim? They would be claiming the whole contract, right?


Yes -

I was just pointing out that Verlander IS worth more than a mere waiver claim to everybody and anybody. I don't think there's a single team among the 30 that wouldn't be happy to have him and immediately insert him into their rotation if not for the contract and the fact you're on the hook for another 2 years of 28 mil. His ERA+ is 97, he's logged 1.2 WAR and even 0.4 WAA... I didn't exhaustively look at every team - but that's better than everyone's current 5th starter and better than all but maybe LAD's 4th.

I just plucked 1/10th out of a hat to put him at a price point every team could easily afford without any concern. I think all 30 teams probably still take the shot at half that, but then we're getting into the realm where cheap and/or rebuilding teams might not have much use for an aging SP struggling with 2/28 to go. I think they'd probably still place a claim, thinking they might then be able to flip him, but who knows.



   30. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 29, 2017 at 10:58 AM (#5485176)
I was just pointing out that Verlander IS worth more than a mere waiver claim to everybody and anybody.

Not really. The waiver claim comes with his contract. There's no way for him to reach waivers at 1/2 or 1/10 of his salary.

If he's put on waivers, he either gets claimed for his full contract, or clears waivers, and becomes a FA.
   31. Nasty Nate Posted: June 29, 2017 at 11:13 AM (#5485189)
I think there is basically no chance he will be moved during this season unless he is secretly very unhappy in the Tigers organization.

But as long as we're doing hypotheticals, maybe the Angels would be willing to take on most or all of his contract. They are in the wild card race.
   32. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 29, 2017 at 11:16 AM (#5485192)
Not really. The waiver claim comes with his contract. There's no way for him to reach waivers at 1/2 or 1/10 of his salary.


You're ignoring my point -- which is that yes, Verlander with that contract is not something every team would jump on, but if the money wasn't that big - Verlander for just the cost of a claim plus a nominally affordable for everyone contract IS something every team would jump on.

Even if one thinks 2016 was just a nice dead cat bounce - even the 2014 and thus-far-2017 Verlander without being owed two more years of 28 mil is an SP any team would be happy to have.

Even at his low points - Verlander is a one to two WAR SP. That's not front-half of the rotation material, but it's perfectly fine backhalf material for everyone - even contenders.

I was simply objecting to the claim that Verlander is barely worth a waiver claim and trying to frame the case that Verlander with that contract is a risky waiver claim, but that Verlander on pure talent/performance is still a valuable properly for an MLB team. Just nowhere near 28 million per valuable.
   33. Nasty Nate Posted: June 29, 2017 at 11:18 AM (#5485195)
I think you misread #18; I don't think he was disputing that every team would give Verlander a roster spot. No one disputes that he is worth a roster spot.
   34. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 29, 2017 at 11:20 AM (#5485197)
BTW -

I also realized that I was in error -- I thought he just had one more guaranteed season after this one, but see that I erred and he's got two more 28 mil years guaranteed before the top 5 CYA vests a 22 mil final year.

That extra year at 28 mil does change my thinking on how aggressively I might like to see Thed be -- Ultimately (especially since its not my money), I think I'd still be interested, but I'm probably moving the return down a notch or two unless the Tigers want to eat some money. IOW - taking on the whole contract - we're probably down to C prospects/lottery ticket/flotsam levels.
   35. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: June 29, 2017 at 11:22 AM (#5485199)
I think you misread #18; I don't think he was disputing that every team would give Verlander a roster spot. No one disputes that he is worth a roster spot.


Perhaps... though, I'd go beyond roster spot and say rotation spot.
   36. NTP Nate Posted: June 29, 2017 at 11:55 AM (#5485234)
What's the possibility of running into Kate Upton at the ballpark worth? That has to factor in to any discussion of Verlander's present and future value.

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