Astros: Could the team try to claim Justin Verlander
By Eric Huysman
The Houston Astros did not add a big arm at the trade deadline, could they claim Verlander?
According to Jerry Crasnick, Justin Verlander has been placed on revocable waivers by the Tigers. This is not too big of a deal. Most teams put players on waivers. However, this could be a way to sure up the Astros’ rotation.
Whether or not the Astros interest in Verlander was overblown, they could have been interested in trading for him. However, ten minutes before the deadline, Bob Nightengale reported that Verlander would not be traded on that day. He mentioned they could revisit things in the offseason.
To trade a player like Verlander, there would be quite a bit of red tape. The contract, prospect return, and the no trade clause would be tricky to manage. The Astros focus could have also been on trying to acquire Zach Britton. The money involved seems to be the sticky point though.
The Tigers didn’t trade him because they would have to pay too much of Verlander’s salary to get a decent prospect return. You would have to wonder if Verlander would even accept a trade to Houston if asked.
An August trade?
Now that the deadline has come and gone, could the Astros still trade for a player for the playoffs? Yes, but it will be through the waivers system. Most people tend to focus on the trade deadline of July 31st because that’s when the action is. However, trades can be made in August as well, just not as easy.
Verlander was placed on revocable waivers. The worst team in baseball will be given the first shot at claiming Verlander. If they pass, then the option goes up through all other teams. Should he go unclaimed, he would be available to all teams via trade.
Will he clear waivers? With $56 million guaranteed for the next two years plus the remaining salary for 2017, it would be a big gamble for any team. A team could claim a player to prevent another team from getting them, but they could take on his entire salary. Could someone like the Red Sox or Yankees claim him?
The claiming process.
The Astros would be the 29th team on the waiver list, followed by the Dodgers. Should the Astros or some other team claim him, three things can happen.
First of all, the Tigers can pull him back off waivers. Should this happen, they will be unable put him on revocable waivers again this year. Why would this happen? The Indians claim him, and the Tigers would not want to let him go there. It also is standard procedure, so they didn’t want to trade him anyway.
Second, the Tigers could let the claiming team have him as is for only a waiver fee. This means that the claiming team would take on the entire salary. The Tigers would not get any compensation from him but would be free of his salary. This does not happen much.
The third option is the two teams have a 48-hour window to complete a trade. This is typically what happens if a player is claimed.
Astros need to make a move?
The Astros have been criticized by fans and media alike for not making a deal. Dallas Keuchel even said that it was disappointing that the team didn’t add another pitcher. They have been very hesitant to give up prospects in any trade.
If they were able to claim Verlander and just take on his salary versus giving up the prospects. It is unlikely the Tigers would just give him without getting prospects in return. Verlander has been a lifelong Tiger, so the organization will have to justify the trade to the fans.
This is still a long shot for the Astros to claim/trade for Verlander. There is so much to work on in a potential deal. If he passes through waivers, it could take a while for any deal to happen. According to Nightengale, executives across baseball think Verlander will clear waivers.
Next: Astros: Despite a quiet deadline day, the team will be fine
Most likely, the Tigers will hold onto Verlander until the offseason. Just because he’s put on revolvable waivers doesn’t mean he’s going anywhere. To be eligible for the playoff roster, a player must be on the team on August 31.
***Stats and salary information from Baseball-Reference***