In a time of terrible tragedy and devastation from Hurricane Harvey in Houston, there is a glimpse of good news for the area as their baseball team has just went out and acquired the greatest pitcher of his generation as the clock struck midnight on the trade-waiver deadline. Former AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander has been traded to the Houston Astros from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for top prospect RHP Franklin Perez, OF Daz Cameron and C Jake Rogers.
Verlander reportedly waited until the final minutes to waive his full no-trade clause and head to the team with the best record in the American League. Verlander has up to $78 million remaining on his contract that includes an option for 2020, but both teams got the deal done in order for JV to maintain his postseason eligibility for the ‘Stros. In 28 starts this season, Verlander is 10-8 with a 3.82 ERA. Since May 30 for Detroit, Verlander has 3.24 ERA with 118 strikeouts in 111 innings.
Verlander likely agreed to wave the deal when he saw the writing on the wall over the last few weeks. After failed attempts to unload star veterans with huge contracts this winter, Detroit stood pat in an attempt to give it one more run with their current group. With no postseason birth in sight, the Tigers began to deal off assets as the trade deadline approached including closer Justin Wilson. The Tigers flipped Justin Upton to the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday and that perhaps was the final straw for Verlander to agree to move on to Houston. Tigers officials met with their ace late into the night to get him to agree to a trade so that they can further their re-build with a flurry of prospects coming over in the deal from Houston.
General Manager Jeff Luhnow has built himself a monster. With stars like Jose Altuve, George Springer and Carlos Correa, a strong bullpen and a group of solid starters, the Astros were a bonafide ace away from truly being a World Series contender. Houston was linked to Sonny Gray who went to New York and failed to make any other moves standing pat for the moment. Houston has since scuffled some insighting this major trade acquisition by the front office to light a fire under the rest of the team through the rest of the regular season and into October.
Verlander now joins a loaded Astros rotation where he will pitch in front of one of his idols growing up in Nolan Ryan for the team the great right-hander pitched for himself. Dallas Kuechel (11-3, 2.91), Charlie Morton (10-6, 3.88), Colin McHugh (2-2, 3.63), Mike Fiers (8-9, 4.55) and Brad Peacock (10-2, 3.12) will all now follow Verlander in the Houston rotation and fight it out for a spot in the four-man postseason rotation. Oh, and by the way, Lance MCullers (7-3, 3.92) is working his way back to full health rehabbing in the minors now.
The 2006 American League Rookie of the Year Justin Verlander, ends an 11-year run with Detroit after 183 wins, a Cy Young and MVP award in 2011, five top-5 Cy Young finishes and two trips to the World Series.
It’s not every day that the best pitcher of his era gets dealt in a last-minute blockbuster deal, but Houston has certainly solidified themselves as the clear-cut favorites to win the American League. Justin Verlander will be the difference maker for Houston in competing for a title in 2017, and the Astros just struck gold in the final trade of the season.
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