Detroit Tigers: Justin Verlander is the Straw the Broke the Camel’s Back


Jul 5, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) in the dugout before the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to the Motor City Bengals’ staff, positivity is not a characteristic many of us regularly possess. When it comes to the Detroit Tigers’ position at the trade deadline, the overwhelming opinion is to sell, because the Tigers do not have a chance to make the playoffs. Justin Verlander is the final straw that has broken my back, the Tigers are not a playoff team.

For the Tigers to win 88 games (which was the last playoff team last season), they need to go 43-28 (.605 winning percentage) for the remainder of the season. The Tigers simply do not have the pitching to play at a .605 winning rate for the remainder of the season.

The Tigers have two starting pitchers who can win on a consistent basis in David Price and Anibal Sanchez. The Tigers are 15-4 with Price on the mound and 30-42 with other starting pitchers. They needed one more pitcher who could pitch at least somewhat consistently to give them a fighting chance to play at a rate that could warrant acquiring another piece or two to make another run.

Since Justin Verlander, Shane Greene, and Alfredo Simon have not shown they can be that pitcher the Tigers need, they cannot rationalize putting themselves in a deeper hole they have already dug. The Tigers only sit 4.5 games out of the Wild Card, but they have not played winning baseball since their 11-2 start. Every time they take a step forward, they take multiple steps back.

Yes, the Tigers have a core for the future, but there is no pitching in that core of Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez, Jose Iglesias, Anthony Gose, and James McCann. Anibal Sanchez will be the ace of the staff that remains.

Price, Cespedes, and Soria will be gone after the season is over and need to be moved. Alex Avila is also an expendable piece that will garner a much better return than expected. The pieces the Tigers get will not turn this team on its head and make them contenders in 2016, but those pieces, along with holding onto future players like Willy Adames and Jonathan Crawford who the Tigers have trades over the past few season will have the Tigers in contention faster than holding onto fleeting hopes for 2015.

2015 is the year of the buyers’ market with a number of teams thinking they are one starting pitcher or corner outfielder away from being a contender. The Tigers have nothing to lose by moving Soria, Cespedes and Avila. If they do not like the price for Price, they could choose to take the draft pick after the season is over. If Verlander could have proven, to be reliable, the Tigers could have tried to push one last time, but without Verlander, hope for 2015 is all but gone for even some of the most positive of fans.