The Lede: Don’t Freak Out Over Verlander, Bautista on Waivers

By Keith Allison (flickr) CC License

Don’t have time to read through 1,000 words, but need some informed betting tips? Here’s a quick rundown on today’s biggest sports story (as adjudged by me) and how it impacts the way you should bet.

Verlander and Bautista Placed on Revocable Waivers

“Justin Verlander and Jose Bautista have been placed on waivers!” the casual baseball fan is shouting this morning.

Before you read too much into that, it’s important to remember a few things: they’ve been placed on revocable waivers, and both players have full no-trade clauses. After the non-waiver deadline, all MLB teams put a large swath of their rosters on revocable waivers. If a player gets claimed, his current team can revoke him from waivers, or work out a trade with that team, or just let him go.

If a player goes unclaimed for two days, his current team can work out a deal with any other squad (subject, of course, to no-trade clauses and 10/5 rights).

So seeing names like Verlander and Bautista on waivers doesn’t really mean what it seems to mean at first glance. It’s also important to consider both players are far from their previous All-Star forms, which makes the odds of either being dealt even less likely.

Justin Verlander has an ERA of 4.29 (the third-highest of his career, excluding his two starts in 2005) and a WHIP of 1.44 (a career-high, again excluding 2005). His name was the subject of many trade rumors ahead of the non-waiver deadline, but the $56 million he’s owed over the next two seasons was too much of a commitment for any teams in the hunt.

If the Tigers are that eager to deal Verlander, they are likely going to have to eat a chunk of his contract. Just about any contender would love to add another capable starting pitcher, and a fresh scene with a shot at the World Series could bring the best out of the former Cy Young-winner. The (now) prospect-poor but cash-rich Cubs are the most likely landing spot. But don’t get your hopes up, North Siders.

Jose Bautista is slashing a pitiful .216/.325/.381 this season, the lowest (on all three counts) since his first full season as a Jay (2009). The 36-year-old is only on a one-year deal, but has lost a significant amount of power and is a minus defender.

No legitimate contenders would be looking at Bautista as an everyday player, rather a bench bat with a little bit of pop. One team that does come to mind is the Cleveland Indians, who could use some extra power. But it’s unlikely the Tribe would offer anything valuable in return.

Takeaway: Basically, don’t read too much into either (or any other name you see on the revocable waiver wire in the next few days; this is routine stuff). It’s unlikely either Verlander or Bautista are moved this season. And even if they are, only a Verlander-to-the-Cubs type deal would move the needle in the 2017 World Series futures.

Keep your eyes peeled for a Verlander deal when winter rolls around.