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Justin Verlander trade rumors: JV dealt to Houston

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The best pitcher in franchise history is now a Houston Astro

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Sept. 1 — The Tigers traded Justin Verlander to the Astros late Thursday night.

July 31 -- On a team where it’s said that everyone is fair game for a trade, some players are more easily moved than others. J.D. Martinez is gone. Alex Avila and Justin Wilson seem the next most likely candidates to be moved. But no single player has had more frustrating trade rumors than Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander.

First it sounded like the team was listening on him, but wanted a trading partner to take on all of his contract. Then there were the limitations of his no-trade clause to consider. There are certainly a lot of factors stacked against Detroit when it comes to moving Verlander: his unimpressive 2017 season, his age, his hefty price tag. Still, he’s a former Cy Young winner and MVP, an All-Star, and a quality arm for any rotation. Surely there are teams asking about him.

Regardless of what happens, it is certainly keeping us interested.

Here’s an up to date look at the Verlander trade rumors.

7/27 — Los Angeles Dodgers

Just to keep us on our toes, Jon Morosi now reports that the Dodgers are hoping to soon close on either Sonny Gray, Yu Darvish, or Justin Verlander.

7/26 — Los Angeles Dodgers

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Dodgers are no longer interested in acquiring Justin Verlander, and their original interest was mild at best. Rosenthal points to the Dodgers desire to get away from burdensome contracts like Verlander’s as the main reason for the loss of interest.

7/25 — Chicago Cubs

Ken Rosenthal took to Facebook to explain how the Cubs can, indeed, afford Verlander should their interest in acquiring him be legitimate.

“[The Cubs] luxury-tax number for 2018 is $74.6 million, leaving them more than under $120 million under the threshold, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

So, if the Cubs want to pursue Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander – one of perhaps 20 trade options they are considering, according to major-league sources – they’ve got the financial flexibility to pull off such a move.”

7/24 — Chicago Cubs (still)

Jon Morosi, in addition to reporting on the Dodgers interest, has indicated that the Chicago Cubs are still very much in the conversation and are inquiring about Verlander and Alex Avila.

7/24 — Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon Morosi has reported that with the recent injury to Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers are showing interest in Verlander. As he owns a home in the area, and the team have the best record in the National League, this fit would make a lot of sense for both parties.

7/21 — Chicago Cubs

The Cubs are once again being tied to Verlander. Bob Nightengale of USA Today notes the Cubs could afford Verlander’s whole contract but would be very unlikely to include any prospects in the return, which could be a deal breaker for the Tigers.

7/20 — Milwaukee Brewers & Chicago Cubs

The once-cool trade talks on Verlander are gaining momentum on Thursday, with another contending team reportedly interested. The Milwaukee Brewers may be interested in the ace, and apparently the Cubs aren’t totally out either.

7/20 — Houston Astros

Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi reports that the Astros may have interest in a Justin Verlander/Justin Wilson combined trade.

7/20 — Tigers will take on 2017 costs

According to sources, the Tigers will be willing to take on the remainder of Verlander’s $28 million salary this season, but little else. Is it enough to entice a buyer?

7/17 — Sweetening the Pot

Tigers are now willing to include cash in a Verlander trade, per Jon Morosi. Initially, the team said they wanted an interested buyer to take on all of Verlander’s salary, but it looks like they might be willing to soften on this.

MLB Trade Rumors speculated on how much “some cash” might really mean.

“The 34-year-old Verlander is midway through the fifth season of a back-loaded seven-year, $180MM contract that calls for him to earn $28MM each year from now through 2019. Of this year’s $28MM, about $11.6MM remains, so adding that to the $56MM he’s owed in 2018-19 brings the total bill to just a shade under $68MM. Exactly what constitutes “some” cash for the Tigers isn’t clear, but given their desire to acquire top-shelf prospects, one can only imagine that the Tigers would need to pay off a significant amount of that remaining $68MM.”

7/15 — Atlanta Braves

The Braves sent a scout to Detroit to watch both Verlander and Michael Fulmer. Atlanta seems an unlikely candidate for Verlander, who would likely only waive his no-trade clause if it meant going to a contending team.

7/14 — Cubs deal DOA

The Chicago Cubs trade for White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana effectively ended any of the tepid interest the Cubs had shown in Verlander. From the sound of it trade talks started between the two teams as early as the offseason, but never gained much traction.

7/13 — Little to no genuine interest

Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports said that while Verlander was a big name, he “isn’t drawing much, if any, trade interest now.” He added, “The other issue is this: the Tigers aren’t about to give away a legend. So while there have been talks with other teams, to this point they have been brief. And they probably aren’t restarting anytime soon.”