The Chicago Cubs might be looking to make another huge trade to bolster their starting rotation.
The defending World Series champions reportedly reached out to the Detroit Tigers in early July about starter Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila, but there was no indication that there were any legitimate trade talks. But MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported Monday that discussions are very much alive.
What’s also unclear is the Tigers’ asking price for Verlander. The 34-year-old is a six-time All-Star, an American League Cy Young Award winner and finished second in AL Cy Young voting last season. However, Verlander is 5-7 with a 4.50 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 21 starts this season, and the right-hander is owed $28 million per season in 2018 and 2019 with a vesting option for $22 million in 2020.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported the Tigers are shopping Verlander “aggressively” but they don’t appear willing to eat any of the money he’s owed.
Avila is the more realistic target for the Cubs, as they need another backstop to complement Willson Contreras. Avila is batting .280 with a .488 slugging percentage and 11 home runs, but the 30-year-old also is a free agent after this season, which theoretically would lower his price.
Still, an AL general manager told Feinsand he expects Verlander will be dealt before Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline, so who knows what the Cubs — or someone else — could pull off.
Thumbnail photo via Peter G. Aiken/USA TODAY Sports Images
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