Whether you buy the rumors of a possible Curtis Granderson trade or not,
their most valuable asset is ace Justin Verlander. The 26-year-old workhorse was 19-9 with a 3.45 ERA in 2009, leading the majors with
35 starts, 240 innings pitched and 269 strikeouts.
While stopping short of deeming any player “untouchable,” general manager Dave Dombrowski acknowledged that he would like to keep him around for a while:
“I won’t get into that because that is best kept internal,” he said.
“But it is safe to say that we would like to have Justin in the
organization for a long time.”
Verlander is under team control for
two more seasons. He earned $3.75 million in 2009, and should see a huge raise this winter. If he stays healthy, he’ll surely sign a contract that will top the $100 million threshold. Fortunately for the Tigers, they have Dontrelle Willis, Nate Robertson, Jeremy Bonderman and possibly Magglio Ordonez coming off the books after 2010.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that the Giants were “sniffing around” on Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco at the recently completed Winter Meetings.
Franco, 25, would be a nice buy-low candidate for the Giants, who don’t have a reliable third baseman yet. Currently, Pablo Sandoval would get the lion’s share of starts at the hot corner. Franco was a consensus top-100 prospect going into the 2014 and ’15 seasons, but hasn’t lived up to the hype over the last two seasons. In 2017, he hit .230/.281/.409 with 24 home runs and 76 RBI in 623 plate appearances.
Moving Franco wouldn’t necessarily solve any problems for the Phillies. After signing first baseman Carlos Santana, Rhys Hoskins is expected to play in the outfield full-time. As a result, the Phillies have too many outfielders with Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. Technically, the Phillies could move Santana to third base as he has experience there, but he hasn’t played the hot corner since 2014.
Franco is arbitration eligible over the next four seasons, which might be the most attractive thing about him to other teams.