Baseball's non-waiver Trade Deadline passed on July 31, but the possibility of a blockbuster still persists. Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins' 27-year-old All-Star outfielder, is on pace to become the youngest player to hit 60 home runs in a season since Roger Maris in 1961. Justin Verlander, runner-up in last year's
Baseball's non-waiver Trade Deadline passed on July 31, but the possibility of a blockbuster still persists.
Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins' 27-year-old All-Star outfielder, is on pace to become the youngest player to hit 60 home runs in a season since Roger Maris in 1961. Justin Verlander, runner-up in last year's American League Cy Young Award voting, has a 2.55 ERA over his past eight starts.
And both the Marlins and Tigers, respectively, are willing to engage in trade discussions involving the superstars after they cleared trade waivers this month, sources say.
Stanton was the more recent of the two to clear trade waivers and sources say trade talks involving him have yet to become serious.
Stanton's contract will be the biggest impediment; he is owed $295 million from 2018-27, unless he opts out of the deal following the '20 season. The fact that he cleared trade waivers is a strong indication that other MLB clubs are not comfortable assuming the full value of Stanton's contract, which is the largest in North American team sports history.
Still, the Nationals, Giants and Angels are viewed as possible suitors for Stanton, either this month or during the offseason. The Nationals' entire Opening Day outfield is on the disabled list; among that group, Jayson Werth (after this season) and Bryce Harper (after 2018) are approaching free agency. The Giants, the only MLB team yet to hit 100 home runs this season, are desperate to add power. And the Angels would love to make a splash with the savings they'll enjoy after the expiration of Josh Hamilton's contract following this season; Stanton is a popular Southern California native.
It's likely that the Marlins' current front office would solicit the input of incoming owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter before trading a player of Stanton's caliber. The sale of the franchise, which was agreed upon last week, is likely to be finalized in the coming months.
Stanton has a full no-trade clause, but he's willing to waive it in order to play for a World Series contender. He has never appeared in the MLB playoffs; the greatest team achievement in Stanton's career thus far was the gold medal won by Team USA at this year's World Baseball Classic.
Verlander, meanwhile, has been the subject of trade talks this month between the Tigers and Astros. Houston has the AL's worst record in August, at 4-10, after failing to acquire a significant starting pitcher at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
While the Tigers and Astros have not progressed toward a deal, one source said the sides have developed a good understanding of what must transpire -- financially and with the players involved -- for a deal to become realistic.
Verlander is owed $28 million in each of the 2018 and '19 seasons. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told Houston SportsTalk 790-AM radio on Wednesday "expectations [are] very low" that the team will make any additional moves before the Aug. 31 deadline to set postseason rosters.
Jon Paul Morosi is a national columnist for MLB.com.