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Lukewarm Stove: Verlander Money Problem, Britton, Lugo, Darvish, Cardinals, More

Chicago Cubs Rumors, MLB News and Rumors

While you watch the Cubs and Sox, check out the latest from the rumor mill with the Trade Deadline looming five days away …


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  • My position on the Cubs and Verlander is unchanged: picking him up makes plenty of sense for the Cubs ONLY if the Tigers eat enough of his contract to make him akin to a short-term free agent signing. The 34-year-old is making about $12 million more this year, and then $28 million each of the next two years (lets forget the 2020 option for now). If he were a free agent today, what do you think he gets? Maybe $10 million for the rest of this season, and then something like two years and $34-$36 million? That’s a lot of money for the Tigers to eat before you’d even consider given up a MODERATELY interesting prospect return.
  • Also, Jon Morosi suggests that the Tigers may be under some pressure to shed salary, which could be informing their approach to trading Verlander. They’re only going to get a notable prospect return if they eat a TON of salary, but maybe that’s not something they’re willing to do financially. And if not, then would they really dump a franchise hero for no real return?

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  • And to that point, Joel Sherman reports that some clubs have gotten the sense that the Tigers might be willing to move young stud Michael Fulmer in a deal that allows them to shed a bunch of salary. If that’s true, the Tigers are in a seriously bad spot after the passing of long-time owner Mike Ilitch.
  • At two games under .500 (but only 4.0 games out of first place), the Cardinals may well be preparing to sell. Jon Morosi reports that the Dodgers and Nationals were in attendance for Lance Lynn’s starter last night. He’s a free agent after the year, and would be an attractive rental trade target if the Cardinals do sell off. I’m kinda hoping they don’t.
  • Morosi adds that the Cardinals are “expected” to listen to offers for Tommy Pham and Randal Grichuk, which would seem odd, given their youth.

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  • Jerry Crasnick reports that the chances that Orioles closer Zach Britton is dealt are “growing slimmer by the day,” citing a market not willing to part with a huge return for a guy who just came back from a forearm injury, and hasn’t yet demonstrated that he’s ready for heavy use down the stretch. Like I said when the Cubs-Britton rumors first popped up, there’s a problem in getting a huge return for Britton, who was among the game’s best when healthy:

Then there’s the matter of the financials, with Britton making $11.4 million this year (not an insignificant consideration for the Cubs, who are approaching the luxury tax limit, and very much are not going to want to go over it this year, given that it would increase their cost to sign qualified free agents after the season and reduce their return for departing qualified free agents). Even if Britton is only so-so the rest of this year, he’ll get a bump in his final year of arbitration in 2018, and could be making upwards of $15 million.

How much prospect currency would you want to give up for what could ultimately become an extremely expensive reliever whom you may or may not want to even retain if he doesn’t regain pre-injury form?

  • Had Britton been healthy all year, you’re willing to commit the big dollars and big prospects to land him for the stretch run, the playoffs, and a pricey 2018 season. Given the state of things? The price would have to be relatively cheap, and I don’t see the Orioles doing that.

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  • Mets righty Seth Lugo popped up in a rumor earlier today, and although the Cubs’ interest does seem legit, the Mets aren’t necessarily looking to deal a controllable arm at this point, according to Marc Carig.
  • The Nationals will keep looking at starting pitchers in the next few days, not only to solidify their playoff rotation, but presumably juuuuust in case Stephen Strasburg’s arm issue pops back up or is less minor than hoped:

  • And the Nationals aren’t the only NL contender watching Darvish:


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor of Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.