The Tigers sent a resounding message to the baseball world Thursday afternoon by trading slugger Justin Upton to the Angels.The message: The Tigers are rebuilding. And it appears they may not be done making deals.After sending Upton to the Angels for two Minor Leaguers, Detroit is actively shopping former American
The Tigers sent a resounding message to the baseball world Thursday afternoon by trading slugger Justin Upton to the Angels.
The message: The Tigers are rebuilding. And it appears they may not be done making deals.
After sending Upton to the Angels for two Minor Leaguers, Detroit is actively shopping former American League Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander as well, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.
Morosi reports that the Astros are one of the teams engaged in talks for Verlander, who was rumored to be on the trade block prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline as well.
The Tigers were not able to get a deal done then for Verlander, who is guaranteed more than $56 million through 2019. But the veteran cleared waivers, meaning Detroit can deal him freely if it wishes.
Players must be traded before Thursday's 11:59 p.m. ET waiver trade deadline to be eligible to play in the postseason with their new teams.
Drafted second overall by the Tigers in 2004, Verlander has spent the entirety of his career in Detroit. The six-time All-Star has been one of the most dominant pitchers of his generation, having led the AL in wins twice, ERA once and strikeouts four times while winning the 2006 AL Rookie of the Year Award, the 2011 AL Cy Young Award and the 2011 AL MVP Award with the Tigers.
Verlander signed a five-year extension with the club in 2015, part of a 10-year, $219.5 million contract set to keep him in Detroit through '19. Included in Verlander's contract is a full no-trade clause, which he'd have to waive to approve a deal.
Verlander struggled out of the gate this year following an impressive comeback season in 2016, after which he placed second in AL Cy Young Award voting. But he's rebounded, pitching to a 5-2 record and a 2.41 ERA after the '17 All-Star break.
Meanwhile, the Tigers have floundered. Detroit entered play Thursday with a 58-74 record, 18 games back in the AL Central. At 11 games behind Minnesota, the Tigers are one of the few teams in the AL without a legitimate chance at a Wild Card spot. They've already traded major contributors in Upton and outfielder J.D. Martinez, and they appear primed to remake their roster with young, cost-effective assets.
Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.