Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander has cleared revocable trade waivers. This means the Tigers are free to explore trades with any team in baseball. The Milwaukee Brewers need to pounce.
His $28 million salary over the next two seasons would seem to be the hold-up of a trade. On top of that, he carries an option at $22 million in 2020. We’ll get into details with that option a little later. The real hold-up with the Milwaukee Brewers acquiring Verlander, could be his no-trade clause.
Having played more than 10 seasons in the Majors, with more than five for Detroit, Verlander has earned full no-trade protection. This means he can block a deal to any team in baseball. Milwaukee hasn’t exactly been a destination city for players, but Verlander could change that.
The Milwaukee Brewers have only two guaranteed contracts for next season, Ryan Braun and Eric Thames. The rest of the roster is filled with players either under team control or in arbitration. The Brewers can afford to absorb the $56 million plus left on Verlander’s contract. They need to do something to keep pace with the Cubs.
Verlander has a track record of success. The Milwaukee Brewers are in dire need of starting pitching help right now. Verlander easily slots into this rotation and deliver immediate dividends. He could show Jimmy Nelson and Chase Anderson how to maintain the high level they are playing at.
What About Verlander’s Contract?
Back to that $22 million option in 2020. Seems expensive, right? Look a little closer and you will find that $22 million to be worth it. The only way the option is triggered is if Verlander is able to finish in the top five of the Cy Young Award voting in 2019. Who wouldn’t pay $22 million for a legitimate Cy Young Award-caliber pitcher?
He has struggled to a 7-7 record this season, along with an ERA at 4.20. However, he has 136 strikeouts in 137 innings. Verlander can still deliver a strikeout when he needs it. On the other hand, his 60 walks are a bit high for him. For his career, he has gone over 200 innings nine times through his first 11 seasons as a starter. That’s a pitcher the Milwaukee Brewers need, a true innings eater at the top of the rotation.
The Milwaukee Brewers are ahead of schedule with the current rebuild. General Manager David Stearns has done a tremendous job of acquiring good young talent. Trading for Verlander could push this team to another level for multiple seasons. Plus, seeing Kate Upton at Miller Park would never be considered a negative.