Chicago Cubs: Justin Verlander wanted Chicago, but gets Houston
As the deadline ticked down to add a player to the roster for the postseason, the Chicago Cubs stayed in the hunt for Justin Verlander. And while it was his preferred landing spot, the price remained too high for the Cubs.
From one trade deadline to the next, the Chicago Cubs stayed in the hunt for the Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander. And for Verlander, it was his preferred landing spot. But the Tigers never came down on their demands, and the Cubs either didn’t have–or didn’t want to give up–what the Tigers were asking. So the six-time All-Star heads to the Houston Astros at the last minute, after waiting on a potential deal with the Cubs to happen.
As the midnight deadline neared, a deal with the Astros looked to be done. But Verlander waited, as the Cubs weren’t completely out of the running for the former Cy Young and MVP winner. According to Astros’ owner Jim Crane, there was hesitation on Verlander’s part.
Right choice? Or only choice?
In the case of Crane saying Verlander made the “right decision”, it may have been the only one outside of remaining in Detroit. The Cubs had pretty much exhausted their top prospects between the trade with the Chicago White Sox for Jose Quintana and the deal with the Tigers for Justin Wilson and Alex Avila. There’s no word on if the Tigers were looking for someone on the MLB roster. But the Cubs weren’t likely to make that deal.
Jon Morosi also seems to confirm Verlander’s desire to end up with the Cubs.
In the end, the Astros had to give up Franklin Perez, Daz Cameron and Jake Rogers. Perez is one of the top 50 prospects in baseball. The AL Central could end up being an exciting division over the next few years with the depth of talent the Tigers and White Sox have built through trades this year.
From rebuild to contender
Just a handful of years ago, the Cubs and the Astros were trading away what they had, building for the future. Now in 2017, they were battling for Verlander. It’s a distinct possibility that the Cubs–God willing–could face the Astros in the World Series. And in turn, face Verlander that wanted to be a Cub.
Next: Cubs not far off 2015 pace
The Cubs are one of the hottest teams in the second-half and have survived the loss of some key players en route to an impressive record after the break. While the Los Angeles Dodgers have faltered a bit and were swept for the first time this year. But they’re still the cream of the crop. And when Joe Maddon essentially called them out? They haven’t won since. Did Maddon’s ploy work? However you want to look, it sure seems like it. The Cubs haven’t lost, and the Dodgers haven’t won.