By acquiring Jose Quintana and that very team friendly contract, the Cubs now have some extra luxury contract money to spend. One just has to worry about the long term effect. Go for a rental of high caliber and another run at the title, or get a high priced older vet with guaranteed money you’re tied to for more than 3 seasons. Well, the latter is the one I’m suggesting the Cubs make and it just so happens the Cubs were in attendance to watch Verlander’s latest start last night.
Well, the latter is the one I’m suggesting the Cubs make and it just so happens the Cubs were in attendance to watch Justin Verlander’s latest start last night. There are rumors out there by various sources that the Cubs and the Tigers are in discussion with the Tigers for Verlander with the sticking point being money.
As I mentioned previously there is a risk with Verlander’s age being what it is, but Verlander is 34 not 54 as some who speak of him would make it sound. He is also the best premium upgrade they can get without decimating their current roster. How about throwing in a veteran catcher who can back up Contreras and oh, by the way, is slashing (.406/.495/.902) Will Verlander still be a formidable pitcher in his mid to late 30’s while you’re paying him just under 80 million over the next 3 1/2 years? It’s possible and in my opinion likely more so yes than no that he will be. He’ll be about Lackey’s age at the end of the deal and Lackey just started to fall off this season. However, he has pitched well as of late and isn’t total suckage.
I do believe the Cubs have enough ammo to get this deal done. They would, of course, have to take on a significant amount if not all of Verlander’s remaining contract for this to happen. Despite what many believe is a minor league devoid of talent they do have some very interesting arms in the lower ranks. They also have a couple position players in Caratini and Candelario who can both hit and play above average defensively. I do think if you include Jeimer Candelario and Victor Caratini that’s all the top prospects you’ll have to give up as Tigers are looking for some salary relief in this deal. Cubs could probably throw in a B level prospect or two and get this deal done
Speaking of Lackey if this deal happens He is likely the odd man out. Not sure if he’ll be traded or maybe DFAed, but it would be hard to believe that Epstein and the Cubs management team would just discard Lackey like that. They may go to a 6 man rotation, but those who would think Lackey to the bullpen would be the logical solution think again. Here’s Lackey on a possible bullpen demotion.
So the Cubs would probably keep him in the rotation during the regular season with Verlander which might be a great scenario as overworked arms like Lackey’s, Jon Lester’s, and Jake Arietta’s could be well rested and strong for the playoffs. It also gives the Cubs the opportunity to have two starters in one game during the playoffs as Lackey can relieve someone should the need arise.
Or, you get Britton, go with Caratini as the backup unless he’s involved in the deal, (Baltimore seems to love ex Cubs catching prospects), and save that money and offer it to Yu Darvish. Of course, you’ll have to pay that 25-30 Mil. over more seasons than 3 1/2. Probably 5 seasons with a mutual 6th-year buyout. About half that annual total I’d expect. He’ll be around 36 – 37 years old. Of course, there’s always the risk of losing a bidding contest with a free agent, whereas you’ll have Verlander on staff for 3 1/2 seasons.
As for Avila, they’ll be able to get him AB’s because of how freakish of an athlete Contreras is who can play either corner outfield position very competently. First base too if you want to give Rizzo a blow. The question is what are you willing to give up? At this point it all seems to be down to how much of Verlander’s salary each team is willing to agree on taking on.