After the trade deadline, the Houston Astros have still been linked with the Tigers and Justin Verlander. The “insiders” say that the two teams have talked a couple different times with regards to a Verlander trade in August alone. The original trade talks broke down whenever the Tigers were unwilling to pay more than 35% of the 78 million he is owed over the next 3 seasons. The Lunhow ran Astros have always worked hard to keep their team’s payroll at a very affordable budget as salary rankings over the past 4 years will show. The team has never been in the business of overpaying players as they prepare for the team’s future free agents. So should the Astros acquire Verlander for a postseason run?
After the trade deadline came and passed and all the team did was acquire Liriano, the clubhouse’s morale portrayed that was not the move they were looking for. The players wanted and were expecting more than what they had received. Needless to say, statements from Josh Reddick and Dallas Keuchel showed the disdain and hurt circulating around the locker room. The front office now has a chance to rewrite their end of July mishaps and hopefully reignite the Astros back into the winning machine of the first half of the season, but I do not see a need for it.
Some fans and analysts state that the team has been going through a rough patch because of the morale, however, there is no proof of this. We have statements from players that could make you believe this, yet the numbers of all World Series winners show that a team having a rough 12 game stretch is quite normal. It is impossible to stay on top of your game and wreak havoc for a full 162 game season, it just does not happen. The team has finally had all of their originally planned pitchers starting games for a little over 2 weeks now. Let us give them some more time. The pitching staff has done great so far, led by Dallas and McCullers, while being anchored by people such as Brad Peacock and Charlie Morton. This rotation has gotten us this far in the season. We do not need to trade some prospects and add Verlander into this equation.
On top of Verlander’s $78 million dollars owed to him over the next 3 seasons, his age and recent seasons have not proven to be enough to warrant the dumping of young talent. Justin is 34 and will be 35 at the end of next season and has not been the dominant force he consistently once was. Over the past 5 seasons, Verlander has 57 wins and 48 losses a slight fall from grace compared to his commanding 4 year stretch from 2009-2012 where he posted 78 wins and only 31 losses. I am in no way claiming that Verlander is washed and needs to be talked about as a pitcher who has fallen off, but rather as a pitcher who does not deserve the money he is owed. The only case you can make for Verlander being paid as one of the top 5 pitchers in baseball is his past accolades and stats, not his present day self. You can say he deserves a Kobe Bryant type deal, where the team pays you for the past achievements and success you brought to the team. However, Verlander has not brought any success to the Astros. We do not need to be the team who pays him for his accomplishments.
The main reason people want a Justin Verlander type player is to help bolster the pitching staff for a deep playoff run, let us look at his playoff stats over his past 4 seasons in the postseason.
- 2011= 4 starts, 2-1 with an ERA over 5.00 with 25 Strikeouts and 2 HR allowed
- 2012= 4 starts, 3-1 with an ERA of 4.12 with 29 Strikeouts and 4 HR allowed
- 2013= 3 starts, 1-1 with an ERA of 1.13 with 31 Strikeouts and 1 HR allowed
- 2014= 1 start, 0-0 with an ERA of 5.40 with 4 Strikeouts and 1 HR allowed
He has displayed the level of dominance the Astros fan base is wanting only once his past 4 trips to the playoffs. Is this the type of stats the Astros should give prospects up for? Is this the type of pitching that will help carry the Astros to a World Series appearance? You tell me. I hope the Astros do not get caught up in the season and sell commodities of the future for a hopeful shot at reinforcing out pitching staff. The only way I would want Justin Verlander on the Astros payroll is if the Tigers took a bulk share of his contract. The Astros taking on Verlander’s contract coupled with his age and pitching stats of today are not good looks for a young, but already dominant team.