Still, general manager Al Avila laid out the scenario when asked about the Verlander trade market Monday. He downplayed the chances of an August deal.
"I wouldn't hold my breath," Avila said. "These kind of things sometimes have better movement in the wintertime, when teams are readjusting their budgets and their roster and things of that nature. Nothing's guaranteed. He might be with us for even longer than that. I couldn't predict it today. Anything can happen."
• Deals not done: A guide to waiver trades
Any player must clear revocable waivers in order to be traded after July 31. The process works much like regular waivers: Teams have a chance to put in a claim in reverse order of standings, separated by league. For Verlander, teams in the American League would get first dibs, followed by teams in the National League. Even if a team places a claim, Verlander can nix a move by exercising his no-trade rights as a 10-and-5 player -- 10 years in the Major Leagues, the last five with his current club. Those rights apply to waiver claims as well as trades.
If a player clears waivers, he can be traded to any team just like before August. If a player is claimed, the team that put him on waivers has a choice to make:
1. Work out a trade with the team that put in a claim within 48 hours
2. Let the player go to the claiming club for nothing, with the claiming club taking on the player's contract
3. Pull the player back off waivers, at which point he's ineligible to be traded until the season is over
Players with large contracts often clear waivers because teams don't want to risk taking on the entire contract. That will likely be the case for many teams and Verlander, scheduled to make $28 million per season over the next two years, with a $22 million vesting option for 2020.
That contract is the main reason Verlander wasn't traded already. While teams wanted the Tigers to pay a portion of it in order to minimize the impact against the luxury tax, the Tigers -- who are trying to reduce team payroll -- did not want to do that and take lesser prospects to watch Verlander, a franchise icon, win for another team.
Yet a larger-market team that doesn't want to deplete its farm system might be tempted to take the risk, put in a claim and see if the Tigers would let him go. However, several potential interested clubs already acquired other starters at the Deadline, including the Dodgers (Yu Darvish) and Yankees (Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia).