Red Sox Target: Justin Verlander

by Frank Pimentel | Posted on Sunday, June 5th, 2016
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Justin Verlander

Now that June is underway, we’ve already seen one starting pitcher traded to a team with plans to contend this fall. You can bet that James Shields won’t be the only arm dealt prior to the trade deadline.

So here it is, Justin Verlander to the Boston Red Sox. It just seems to make sense on the surface. The Red Sox have the payroll, the market and the talent to give up in any trade. The Detroit Tigers currently sit fourth in the AL Central and Manager Brad Ausmus‘ seat remains scolding hot. Maybe it’s time to part with their long-time ace and regain some financial flexibility moving forward.

Verlander, is 33-years-old and is owed $106 million over the next four seasons. That’s $28M per for the next three with $22M vesting option on the table for 2020.

While many might be quick to balk at the idea for trading for a pitcher of his age and contract, let me remind you we are taking about a former Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner. Verlander is still an elite arm, still getting hitters out consistently and has the postseason pedigree to halt any disclaimers come October. Following a tough 2014 where he posted a 4.54 ERA many questioned whether he was on the decline. He righted the ship with a 3.38 last season thanks to a strong second half and has picked up where he left off. He’s striking people out again as well, 77 in 72.1 innings so far this season.

We all know what the Red Sox offense is at this point. They are electric, charismatic and deflating for opposing pitchers to deal with nightly. The problem with Boston has been the lack of consistency from the rotation. Adding Verlander to a group that consists of two former teammates in Rick Porcello and David Price, the surprise star knuckleballer Steven Wright and the upstart lefty Eduardo Rodriguez makes for about as good a rotation you can get in this day and age.

Let’s not forget the elephant in the room, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. He witnessed Verlander first-hand night-in and night-out during their tenure together in the Motor City. He rewarded his ace with a lucrative deal and surely will pull the trigger on any opportunity to bring him back on board into his operation.

Dombrowski’s presence has been felt since day one and it’s clear the Red Sox want to win for a long time, and they want to establish themselves as perennial World Series contenders. That process has already begun, and solidifying the rotation with Justin Verlander behind David Price, is hard to counter.

Michael Felger of 98.5 The Sports Hub and Comcast Sports Net New England was first to float the idea at least in the public eye over the past few weeks. It’s totally logical once you really think about it, in fact it’s been rumored that the two sides may have even discussed a blockbuster deal of this stature last winter, to no avail.

If anyone asked David Ortiz about the idea of bringing Verlander on board, I’m sure he would have a classic Papi smile from ear-to-ear. He wants to go out on top with that 4th World Series ring, and trading for Justin Verlander puts Ortiz and the Red Sox in prime position to do so.

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Frank Pimentel
About the Author

Frank is a passionate baseball fan and writer. Aspiring baseball front office executive. Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankBostonTank.

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