The Chicago Cubs need starting pitching, and it seems they’ve found some players of interest in the Detroit Tigers roster.
No, it does not appear Justin Verlander is the one drawing their interest. After some initial speculation over whether or not the reigning World Series champions might seek out a deal with the former Cy Young winner, it seems unlikely this trade will move forward. The Tigers have gone on record that they are “looking for [a] big,big,big return without salary offset” meaning a potential trade partner would have to absorb all of Verlander’s contract, and sweeten the pot with prospects.
According to Peter Gammons, a Cubs official said, “No one is going to pay $70 million for him, even though he may still be a very good pitcher.” Is the potential for a Verlander trade dead in the water now? With the Cubs, it seems, the answer is yes.
The Cubs were not done looking at Detroit after passing on Verlander, though. For the Chicago team, with two starting pitchers on the disabled list and an aging cadre of arms, their future is based on getting young pitchers into the rotation. Naturally, 2016 Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer, and young up-and-comer Daniel Norris would be exciting targets for the Cubs.
Fulmer, a first-time All-Star this year, has a career ERA of 3.11, a .606 win record, a 3.55 FIP, and a 1.118 WHIP. Norris, who has struggled with overthrowing and overthinking this season, and is currently on the disabled list, has a career ERA of 4.28, a .500 win record, a 4.33 FIP, and a 1.452 WHIP. Fulmer won’t reach free agent status until 2023, and Norris in 2022. These are the kind of guys any team would love to get their hands on.
They’re also the kind of guys the Tigers will likely plan to build their future rotation around. If the team are hoping to rebound and come back to contention in 2019 or 2020, they’ll need guys like Fulmer and Norris in the rotation, and it’s hard to imagine the Cubs being able to offer any prospects that would provide a greater value than what the Tigers already have with Fulmer and Norris.