With nearly $60 million left on his contract, the Detroit Tigers will place Justin Verlander on waivers. There is an excellent chance he clears. Then comes the hard part.
Still productive at 34, the Old Dominion graduate might welcome the chance to reunite with Scherzer and a championship contender, but any deal is complex.
How much money will the Tigers throw in to pay down the contract? In return, would Washington throw in a top prospect for the aging Verlander? As a player with ten years of MLB service and five years on the same club, would he allow a deal? He has full veto rights protected in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The 2017 version of Verlander is not the same as the six-time top five Cy Young Award pitcher. But, as a mid-rotation pitcher with playoff experience, he is worth pursuing.
At 6-7 with a 4.29 ERA and 1.438 WHIP, it is impossible to justify taking the full deal. The BB/9 is a career-high 4.2, walking 60 over 130 innings. Still, he has never lost an LDS game and is 7-5 overall in the postseason with a 3.39 ERA.
Even if he is interested and a package can be worked out, Verlander’s average annual value throws them well over the competitive balance tax limit. The Lerner family will make a decision based on that.