Cubs Trade Rumors: Verlander Deal Would Require ‘Miracle,’ Gray Scratched from Sunday Start

According a report from FanRag’s Jon Heyman, Justin Verlander’s $28 million AAV contract has scared away all potential suitors. Even though Detroit is reportedly willing to kick in some cash to make that payroll addition more palatable, it would take a “crazy, last-second turnabout” for the Tigers ace to roll out of the Motor City.

We already knew that a Verlander trade was unlikely given what we’ve heard — and not heard — over the last few days, but we also knew that the Cubs would have been able to assume the pitcher’s contract without flinching. Well, not too much. As such, it can be reasonably concluded that the issue indeed hinged on the inability to find the right mix of how much money the Cubs would assume and who they’d be sending back to Detroit in return.

My guess, and this may be based on a report I saw but cannot find right now, is that the Tigers were only willing to foot the bill for the remainder of this year of Verlander’s contract. As such, the Cubs would not have been amenable to parting with the players atop their prospect list. Or at least not the one(s) Detroit would have wanted.

Verlander’s exit from the market makes the competition for Oakland’s Sonny Gray that much more intense, which could mean the Cubs being legit players. Joel Sherman referred to them as a “stealth team” and Jon Morosi reported that they “were active suitors for Gray as of Friday.” They’re far from alone in that pursuit, though, and the inevitability of a deal has led to Gray being scratched from his scheduled start Sunday.

I still think the Cubs will be on the outside looking in because they’ve got neither the desire nor the prospect capital to match the Yankees. But you never know what could happen this time of year, and that’s why these trade rumor updates are so fun to follow. For some of us anyway, I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

In closing, I’ll exhort you once again to stay tuned and to stop throwing Kyle Schwarber’s name out there as part of a package to land Gray. Please and thank you.

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