Astros acquire ace pitcher Justin Verlander from Tigers
3:44 AM ET
- ESPN.com news services
The team with the best record in the American League just got a major reinforcement for its postseason run.
The Houston Astros have acquired right-hander Justin Verlander from the Detroit Tigers, boosting a pitching staff that features fellow Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel.
In 28 starts this season, Verlander is 10-8 with a 3.82 ERA. Since May 30, Verlander has a 3.24 ERA with 118 strikeouts in 111 innings.
"On behalf of the Detroit Tigers, we sincerely thank Justin Verlander for his remarkable 13 seasons of dedication to the organization," Tigers executive vice president and general manager Al Avila said. "Justin has been the face of consistency over the course of his career and a pillar for baseball in the city of Detroit. He is someone who I believe to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. We wish Justin all the best as he starts a new chapter in his illustrious career."
It was the second trade of the day for the Tigers, who sent outfielder Justin Upton to the Los Angeles Angels for pitching prospect Grayson Long and cash or a player to be named. Detroit is 58-74 and on track to miss the postseason for a third straight year.
Verlander is likely to make his first start for his new team next week, when the Astros go back on the road, according to ESPN's Buster Olney. Because he joins the Astros before Sept. 1, he is eligible to pitch in the postseason with his new club.
The Tigers drafted Verlander in 2004 with the No. 2 overall pick. He won Rookie of the Year honors in 2006, when Detroit came out of nowhere to win the American League pennant. He led the AL with 19 wins in 2009, but his finest season came in 2011, when he went 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA and won the AL Cy Young Award and MVP. He also threw his second career no-hitter that season and led the Tigers to their first of four consecutive AL Central titles.
In 2013, Verlander signed a five-year, $140 million contract extension guaranteeing him $28 million per season through 2019. The deal also gave Verlander a no-trade clause in his contract.
Verlander has an option for 2020 that could vest for $22 million if he finishes in the top five in Cy Young voting in 2019, but he did not get an extension as part of the Houston deal.
Verlander is a playoff veteran, having appeared in the postseason five times. He is 7-5 with a 3.39 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 16 career starts in the playoffs.
"He adds a boost to our rotation. He's been pitching well. We think he'll give us some leadership. He's been in the playoffs before and adds a dimension we didn't have,'' Astros owner Jim Crane said.
Verlander had been the subject of trade rumors for the past two months and had talked about being at peace with any decision, since he controlled his destinati on.
"I guess that makes it easier on me, personally. I definitely would not be upset about staying here in Detroit, and again, because I control my own destiny, it wouldn't be somewhere I don't want to go [if a trade happens]," Verlander said in July.
Crane hopes Verlander is a piece that can help the Astros in the postseason.
"We hope it positions us to get into the playoffs, get by the first round, get into the second round and get to the World Series and win it. That's what we've been working at, and that's what we'll continue to work at, and we want to win,'' Crane said.
The Astros spent the week playing their home series against the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, because of catastrophic flooding in the Houston area in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. They returned to Houston on Thursday night, and they will begin a series at Minute Maid Park with the New York Mets with a do ubleheader on Saturday.
"We think it will be great for the town,'' Crane said. "We need a little boost right now. So all the stars may be aligned here. We're hoping that it works out good for us.''
The Astros sent pitcher Franklin Perez, outfielder Daz Cameron and catcher Jake Rogers to the Tigers as part of the deal. Houston will get a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Cameron is the son of ex-MLB outfielder Mike Cameron.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.Source: Google News