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Is Now the Time to Trade Justin Verlander?

Alright, we’ve all heard the rumors that Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson are being shopped and both have quite a bit of value because they’re coming off of good seasons.  The question is, if you’re in a selling mood, is now the time to trade Justin Verlander?  His stock may never be higher then it is now for a few different reasons.  And just as a disclaimer, I’m not saying they should trade him or I want to trade him, I’m just working through the logic.

  1. He’s coming off of a Cy Young caliber season.  If not for Zach Greinke’s special year, Verlander would have been one of four pitchers in what would have been a tossup for the award.  His 269 strikeouts were the most by a pitcher since Randy Johnson struck out out 290 in 2004 and his 240 innings pitched is the most by a Tiger since Jack Morris in 1990, his last year with the Tigers.
  2. Whichever team has him can get him at a bargain for the next two years.  You have to assume whoever picks up Verlander is interested in inking him to a long term deal but even if both sides can’t agree, that gives the team some insurance that Verlander will be with the team longer then just one season.
  3. The Tigers appear to be selling mode.  If they do deal Granderson and Jackson, the Tigers probably won’t contend in 2010 or 2011.  That means you’re basically wasting Verlander’s cheap years, possibly alienating him by putting a mediocre team around him and pushing him out anyway.  If the Tigers can assure Verlander they have a plan to build around him, they might be able to sell him but we’ll see.  

Now the reasons to keep him

  1. We get him for two years at a discount.  Verlander has two more years of arbitration eligibility and that means the Tigers will get to keep him for two more years at a discounted salary.  That gives them two years to get the team back in order and to include him in the Tigers long term plans.  I know this was also one of the reason to trade him, but things kind of work out that way.
  2. Verlander, if marketed right, could put fans in the seats.  I know he doesn’t have Mark Fidrych’s personality, but he’s fun to watch.  Especially in the later months if the Tigers are out of contention (if, I’m being optimistic), you could even adjust the rotation so he pitches at home more.  Verlander might even like that too because he’s a better pitcher at home (.676 OPS against) then he is on the road (.719).

Just one more note, trading Verlander, while not an immediate benefit, might make the Tigers think twice about then trading Jackson and Granderson.  They still might do that and do a complete dump, but it would give them some long term flexibility knowing that big $20 million a year contract isn’t looming in the near future.

[…] Tigers Blog, Tigerblog.net explores whether the Tigers should shop their ace Justin Verlander this offseason. As much as the Tigers […]

Posted by hotstove.com / archive » Afternoon Blog Watch: Josh Johnson to the Yankees?, Vlad Not Likely for the Nationals, Big Unit to Retire?, More on November 23rd, 2009 at 3:19 pm

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