With the A’s and Mariners getting together on a waiver trade of Yonder Alonso this weekend, you are reminded that trades of note really do happen in August. (If you missed the how and why they happen, read the explanation here.)
Perhaps the biggest name among the realistic August trade candidates, Justin Verlander recently cleared trade waivers, and can be dealt to any team in baseball at this point. With Verlander frequently attached to the Cubs in trade rumors this year (and likely to continue to be after the season if he’s not traded sooner), I thought it worth pointing this out:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) August 7, 2017
The Astros were notoriously quiet at the non-waiver trade deadline, so the fact that they’re exploring August trades is not a surprise – and actually coming together on a deal would not be a surprise either.
I still don’t think the Cubs are likely to make a significant rotation move this month, but I do think Verlander remains an intriguing trade target in the offseason. If he’s dealt to the Astros or some other team this month, of course, then that probably goes off the table.
The 34-year-old righty is still throwing as hard as ever, and is bouncing back in a big way here in the middle part of the season after a rough start. His 4.20 ERA is actually about 5% better than league average at this point, and it’s just 2.31 in his last six starts. Verlander is scheduled to make $28 million each of the next two seasons, and has a vesting option for 2020 worth $22 million, which vests if he’s in the top five of Cy Young voting in 2019 (or if he demands that it is guaranteed in order to approve a trade). If the Tigers ate enough of that to make him, say, a three-year, $45 million commitment after this season? That’s a mighty attractive trade target, in my opinion.