Houston Astros’ General Manager Jeff Luhnow and his staff must really have Justin Verlander on the brain at this point. A brilliant one-hit outing from the Tigers’ ace served notice on Wednesday night. Second half Verlander is here. And you want him on that wall. You need him on that wall.
The problem here is money. Or prospects. Money and prospects. There’s no chance the Tigers are going to trade Verlander for some modest package of minor leaguers. They’ve made it clear that the only worthy goal of a Verlander deal is to build for the long-term. Shedding the money doesn’t move the needle one bit, and the fanbase is watching.
On the other side of the equation, Luhnow is loathe to part with his top prospects, and the Astros are downright miserly with their payroll. Yet the Tigers are asking them to pay up and part with high quality young talent, and have no reason to relent in those demands. Dave Cameron of FanGraphs dissected the myriad issues complicating a potential deal.
He wasn’t the only one weighing in. Unless a deal is made soon, rumors are likely to continue for another few weeks. Danny Knobler of Bleacher Report argues that Verlander’s potential impact is still worth the likely high price. Jon Paul Morosi at Hardball Talk had the latest on the Verlander rumor mill.
Postseason hunt hits high gear
The Arizona Diamondbacks have been rolling since the acquisition of J.D. Martinez, but their season could hinge on the next 10 games. Jack Macgruber of FanRagSports takes a look at the Diamondbacks and their drive to take on the big boys as they face the Dodgers, Cubs and Astros all in succession.
The Ringer loves the early returns on the Boston Red Sox’ July moves. Meanwhile the New York Post reports that the Yankees made a run at Jay Bruce as well, but the crosstown rivals naturally couldn’t come to a deal. The Red Sox have won eight straight to pull out to a three game lead in the A.L. East.
The Dodgers have hit 80 wins and Cody Bellinger homered again. That’s number 33, and he didn’t even get called up until a few weeks into the season. In the same division, the Colorado Rockies may be dealing with the final collapse of Carlos Gonzalez.
Around the horn
John Perrotto of FanRagSports wonders if Justin Upton may yet decide to opt out of his deal this offseason. Travis Sawchik at FanGraphs looks at the worrisome trend of Alex Wood’s declining velocity. The Cleveland Indians made a serious move on Wednesday, acquiring Jay Bruce after Michael Brantley hit the disabled list. And it’s been an ugly post Cy Young campaign from Rick Porcello, but he did throw one immaculate inning on Wednesday.
The Cardinals and Royals were locked in a tight interleague duel on Wednesday night, until a cat stepped in. With the bases loaded and Yadier Molina at the plate, a handsome grey kitten took the field for some hijinks. He made it to the warning track before being corralled by a member of the grounds crew, who was soundly mauled about the arms by the terrified feline. On the very next pitch? Grand slam from Molina.