Dodgers Team News

Justin Verlander Rumors: Contract Option May Be a Hang Up for Dodgers in a Potential Trade

As you likely know by now, the Los Angeles Dodgers rotation hasn’t performed up to par.

The entire pitching staff has a 4.51 ERA on the year, a number that’s extremely concerning for a Dodgers franchise that’s been able to rely on their arms throughout their domination of the NL West over the last decade, and a team that’s trying to solidify playoff positioning.

The trade deadline is on August 1 at 3 PM, and the team is still in pursuit of another starting pitcher after acquiring Lance Lynn from the Chicago White Sox last week.

The Dodgers have swung and missed on targets Lucas Giolito and Jordan Montgomery in the last few days, with Giolito now in Anaheim and Montgomery now plying his trade for the Texas Rangers.

There’s still a few Dodger targets available in St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Jack Flaherty and 2023 All-Star Mitch Keller, but the biggest name that may be for the taking is current New York Mets pitcher Justin Verlander.

The 40-year-old future Hall of Famer has been the best starter for a disappointing Mets team, posting a 3.15 ERA on the season thus far.

With LA needing more rotation reinforcements and the Mets in the midst of a sale, the combination could be there for a deal that sees Verlander heading to southern California.

Except for one thing. His contract.

ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez touched on the complexities of Verlander’s contract, explaining that the veteran has an vesting option in his deal that would automatically kick in if the pitcher records 140 innings in 2024.

If he does, it would lead to the Dodgers having to give him quite a payout.

“If he hits that number, the acquiring team would be on the hook for somewhere in the neighborhood of $92 million for two-plus seasons of Verlander, who will be 41 in February.”

via ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez

The Dodgers definitely need another rotation arm. That’s a certainty. But would the team risk having to pay an aging Verlander that type of money?

Even though bringing him in would likely solve LA’s most urgent problem, he likely wouldn’t be worth it in the longer term. Especially with younger alternatives in Flaherty and Keller still available.

We’ll see what happens over the next day, but the franchise has a big decision coming up regarding a legendary hurler that may be getting closer to his last legs.

Photo Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Wagner

Matt Wagner was born and raised in southern California, and he lived there before moving to Colorado and getting his B.A. in Communications from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2022. He relocated back to southern California in 2023 and is looking forward to covering the Dodgers again here at Dodgers Nation. Some of his past work is in Bleacher Report, Dodgers Tailgate, and, most recently, Colorado Buffaloes Wire. Aside from writing, you can probably catch him petting the nearest dog or eating some good Mexican food.

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