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Report: Dodgers have expressed interest in Tigers’ Justin Verlander

justin verlander

As the MLB trade deadline nears, the Los Angeles Dodgers have no shortage of options. With one of the deepest farm systems in baseball and a major league squad sporting a 68-31 record, L.A. is in a position to acquire just about any asset on the open market, if they’re willing to meet the price.

Those prices may’ve gone up yesterday with Clayton Kershaw‘s back injury. Per Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the initial return timetable for the Dodgers ace is four-to-six weeks, but he’s scheduled to see another physician before that’s finalized. Add in the recurring health concerns of Rich Hill and Brandon McCarthy, and one can see why L.A. is pursuing starting pitching help for the postseason.

The Dodgers have been connected in rumors to Texas Rangers starter Yu Darvish for the past few weeks, but the price tag may be too high for a ball club just a few games out of a Wild Card spot. As a result, L.A. is exploring other options, including one of baseball’s best aces from years past.

From Jon Morosi of MLB Network:

Dodgers also have shown interest in [Justin] Verlander, which could intensify if team receives discouraging news on Clayton Kershaw’s back.

Verlander’s resume includes an AL Cy Young and MVP award, but his numbers have dipped this year. He currently sports a 4.54 ERA (96 ERA+) and 1.47 WHIP, far below his career average. When you also consider that Verlander is still owed $56 million over the next two seasons, the price to acquire him might not be all that high. In fact, getting that contract off their books is something that a quasi-rebuilding Detroit team likely wants to accomplish. They could take on some of that money to improve the returning haul of prospects, but L.A. is one of the few franchises that can afford Verlander’s contract.

If the Dodgers are willing to give up some of their top prospects, Darvish and even the Oakland AthleticsSonny Gray could be acquired. But, if they want to hold on to the likes of Walker Buehler and Alex Verdugo, Verlander might be their best bet.