Justins Verlander and Upton dealt from Tigers to contenders
The Detroit Tigers dealt away a pair of Justins in big trades with contenders on Thursday. Detroit sent away ace Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros. The Tigers also dealt slugging outfielder Justin Upton to the Los Angeles Angels.
August 31 was the deadline for MLB teams to acquire players who had passed through waivers, and also have those players automatically eligible for participation in the postseason.
In the first trade, Upton was shipped to the Halos. In exchange, the Tigers received Grayson Long, a pitcher in their minors system, and also will receive cash considerations or a player to be named.
Upton is signed through the 2021 season at $22 million per year. The 30-year old, 11-year big league veteran also has a contract opt-out following this season. The Angels did not request that he waive that option as part of the deal.
This wasn’t the only deal for the Angels. They also acquired second baseman Brandon Phillips from the Atlanta Braves. The Braves are also sending cash to help with the Phillips contract, while receiving catcher Tony Sanchez in return.
The Angels are currently 1.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins and also are 2.5 behind the New York Yankees in the race for one of two American League Wildcard playoff berths.
The two deals from the Angels perspective are certainly aimed at getting the club back to the postseason for just the second time this decade. The club was swept out of the 2014 ALDS by the Kansas City Royals.
Especially relevant is that this is an attempt to demonstrate to superstar Mike Trout, who can leave via free agency in a few years, that they are willing to do what it takes to win. That 2014 ALDS is the only playoff appearance of his career.


Verlander was finally traded to Houston with just a minute to spare in negotiations that went back and forth, from done deal to off-the-table, multiple times in the closing hours. Since Verlander is engaged to model/actress Kate Upton, it could also be said that Detroit technically dealt away two Uptons.
Furthermore, the Astros lead the AL West by 11.5 games over those Angels. They are hoping that not only can Verlander help secure them the league’s overall best record, but also help them to advance deep into October.
Houston owner Jim Crane was quoted by ESPN on the Verlander acquisition:
“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.”


Most of all for the Tigers, this is clearly about rebuilding. Coming to Detroit are a trio of prospects in pitcher Franklin Perez, outfielder Daz Cameron, and catcher Jake Rogers.
GM Al Avila was quoted as follows by Chris McCoskey of the Detroit News on the Verlander deal:
“On behalf of the Detroit Tigers, we sincerely thank Justin Verlander for his remarkable 13 seasons of dedication to the organization. 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.”
MLB Pipeline has immediately installed Perez as the Tigers’ new top prospect, with Cameron and Rogers ranked 6th and 8th on that list. Long has been ranked in the #15 slot. Sanchez has already appeared in 51 big league games across parts of three seasons.
There were other deadline deals as well. The Chicago White Sox sent pitcher Miguel Gonzalez to the Texas Rangers. In exchange the Chisox received prospect third baseman Ti’Quan Forbes. The Seattle Mariners dealt outfielder Leonys Martin to the Chicago Cubs for a PTBNL and cash. In addition, the Cleveland Indians dealt catcher Erik Kratz to the New York Yankees for cash.
In another deadline move, the Astros claimed outfielder Cameron Maybin off waivers from the Angels. The Phillies also made a move, adding reliever Juan Nicasio from the Pirates off waivers.

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