There are some new trade rumors making the rounds Wednesday morning regarding a pair of Detroit Tigers players, and they could have an affect on the Chicago Cubs and their plans for this year’s non-waiver trade deadline.
One of those rumors don’t directly link a player to the team, but it would definitely be a match to dream about. Could Justin Verlander find his way into the Cubs’ starting rotation?
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported, “Multiple front-office sources told Yahoo Sports they expect Verlander to hit the trade market sometime in the next two weeks.” The Tigers have struggled to find any rhythm as a team this year, and because of it they are near the bottom of the American League with a 34-42 record (second worst to the White Sox). If Detroit does decide to mail it in for the rest of 2017, Verlander could potentially net the team a decent return package if they choose to sell him.
The biggest issue with a Verlander deal is the $56 million he is owed over the next two seasons. His poor performance this season (4.47 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 4.2 BB/9) compounds the issue, making his trade value difficult to determine. With that said, Verlander has had similarly poor seasons in the past (2008 and 2014, namely), and he was always able to bounce back to his dominant self in following years. At 34 years old it may be harder for him to bounce back now compared to nine years ago. But per Passan’s report, one evaluator thinks that “a return to a competitive team would reinvigorate Verlander,” and that is very possible.
The other rumor involving a Tigers player did directly link them to the Cubs, and there is an interesting twist to it if it comes to fruition.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 28, 2017
This rumor comes right on the heels of current Cubs backup catcher Miguel Montero blaming Jake Arrieta for the seven stolen bases the team allowed to the Nationals last night. And it’s not the first time that Montero has been outwardly critical of the organization, either. Right after the team won the World Series last year, all Montero had to say was how he felt he was misused during the playoffs and wasn’t happy with his lack of playing time. There is a lot more to that story, but we can get into that another time.
Alex Avila has had a revival in 2017, posting a .323 batting average, 10 home runs, and as Morosi mentioned in his tweet he has caught 40% of base stealers against him. While Montero has also done well with the bat this year (.286/.366/.439 slash line, four home runs), he has caught 3% of base stealers. Montero’s CS% ranks worst among catchers that have recorded at least one caught base runner, while Avila’s mark is tied for the 10th best total in baseball.
Avila would be an upgrade over Montero, especially in regards to the clubhouse atmosphere. If the Cubs managed to strike a deal for both of these Tigers players it would take a pretty hefty package, but it could very well be worth it. Verlander would plug up the hole at the back end of the Cubs’ rotation, Avila would be a solid bat both off of the bench and as a backup to Willson Contreras, and both guys would provide strong veteran leadership in the clubhouse.
Stay tuned here for future Cubs rumors and developments as this year’s trade deadline approaches.
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