The Dodgers have been in search for a second ace since the departure of Zack Greinke last offseason. That search led them to Justin Verlander this winter, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
L.A. had interest in Verlander, but its focus on re-signing Rich Hill, Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen, in addition to Verlander’s salary, stalled talks, per Heyman. The discussions appeared to be nothing more than exploratory.
“L.A. asked about Justin Verlander this winter, though nothing got close as the $28-million salary was a lot for them since they also had interest in bringing back Rich Hill, Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen, which they did. Dodgers people are also telling some teams they may try to get below the luxury tax threshold in a year or two, once Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Alex Guerrero come off the books (my take: that’s a nice cause but still looks like a bit of a long shot). Verlander could be something to keep an eye on though, as he has made it known that if the Tigers do begin a serious sale at some point, he’d consider waiving his no-trade clause. Plus, the Dodgers would hold particular interest, as he and fiancée Kate Upton bought a home in the Beverly Hills area, and Upton obviously is in the modeling/movie business, so the Dodgers would be the most attractive option. And Verlander might be even better finally in the N.L.”
Verlander’s relationship with Upton, and the fact they bought a house in the area, previously linked the veteran to the Dodgers. The Tigers were interested in moving money, and the Dodgers’ rotation need (prior to signing Hill) made Verlander a logical fit. It’s also likely he would’ve waived his no-trade clause, eliminating one of the more significant roadblocks of a trade.
Heyman said talks didn’t advance, but if Detroit fades before the deadline, Verlander could be a name to watch. While the Dodgers were reluctant to take on salary, as Heyman noted, dropping below the tax line may be a useless fight. L.A. has enough cash coming off the books in the next several seasons that acquiring Verlander wouldn’t deter the team from dipping into the market or re-signing its youth in future seasons.
Talks happen every day. Most rumored trades never go through. But if Verlander slides onto the trading block this summer, the Dodgers may give serious consideration to a more dedicated pursuit.