3 potential trade destinations for Verlander
Less than a year removed from being widely considered the American League's best starting pitcher, Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander has been anything but in 16 starts this season.
The 34-year-old, who missed out on his second AL Cy Young Award last year at the hands of Rick Porcello, continues to struggle to match the consistency that made him so deserving of the hardware.
Now, with his team eight games under .500 and the trade deadline rapidly approaching, it appears the Tigers will consider dealing their 13-year veteran.
There are some obstacles, however. First, Verlander - a player with 10-and-5 Rights - carries a full no-trade clause, meaning he has the final say. Second, he's baseball's seventh-highest-paid player, with a $28-million salary until 2019 ($84 million combined) followed by $22 million in 2020.
Any deal involving Verlander would signal a rebuild in Detroit - a club that has missed the postseason in each of the past two years.
With that in mind, if talks do heat up, here are three potential destinations for the former AL MVP and six-time All-Star:
New York Yankees
After starting the season blazing hot, the Bronx Bombers have cooled off significantly. Although New York's starters have been fine this year, producing 7.2 WAR (sixth-best in the league), the team will be in the market for upgrades.
Verlander donning pinstripes would immediately boost the club's chances at winning the division for the first time since 2012. Fitting in the veteran's contract would pose a challenge, but keep in mind CC Sabathia - set to earn $25 million this year- is a free agent at season's end.
One way the reigning World Series champions can make a statement is by acquiring a starter of Verlander's caliber. Chicago represents an intriguing fit for his services, considering its rotation has plagued the club in 2017.
Holding a mediocre 39-38 record, but still only a game from first, the Cubs trading for Verlander would not only help them within the division, but also against Washington and Los Angeles: two teams with terrific starting rotations. With Kyle Hendricks on the mend and Jake Arrieta struggling, Verlander could ease the load on the team's path to the postseason.
As for the future, all of Brett Anderson, John Lackey, and Arrieta - a combined $35.1 million - will come off the books in the offseason.
Boston Red Sox
Forget Sonny Gray, what about a reunion with Verlander, Mr. Dave Dombrowski?
This move makes sense on many levels, and it isn't hard to find connections between the sides. Dombrowski drafted Verlander second overall in 2004, and they went on to spend 10 years together in a stint that included two World Series appearances.
Dealing Dave, never shy of sacrificing prospect capital, would do the same in a deal for his former ace. With the AL East up for grabs, pairing Verlander with Chris Sale, David Price, and Porcello - his former teammate in Detroit - would instantly give the Red Sox an edge.