DETROIT, MI - JULY 20: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the eighth inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins on July 20, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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Justin Verlander: “I’m too old to be part of a rebuilding process”

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The Tigers have sent some mixed signals this winter. The offseason began with widespread reports that GM Al Avila was going to break up the team. Indeed, it was reported that he was willing to field offers for any and all players, on up to Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera.

As the offseason has unfolded, however, a rebuild has not materialized.

Avila traded away outfielder Cameron Maybin. He signed old friends Omar Infante and Alex Avila. He made the usual sorts of minor league signings every team makes to fill out the roster. Detroit still needs a center fielder and there continue to be rumors that outfielder J.D. Martinez and second baseman Ian Kinsler could be had for the right price, but it’s been pretty quiet at 2100 Woodward Avenue.

If that changes, however, and the Tigers do start to rebuild, there’s one key member of the team who doesn’t really want a part of it. From the Detroit Free Press:

Justin Verlander is 33 years and 330 days old.

He’s not that old.

But the Detroit Tigers ace right-hander – a 12-year major league veteran – is old enough in baseball years to know that he doesn’t really want to be part of a rebuilding process.

“Would it have been upsetting for me if we started trading away everybody?” he told MLB Network Radio on Friday morning. “I’m too old to be part of a rebuilding process.”

Verlander will make $28 million a year for each of the next three seasons and has a vesting option for 2020 if he finishes in the top 5 of the 2019 Cy Young vote. He had an excellent return-to-form in 2016, but his contract is still pretty big for a pitcher with his mileage, making it seem unlikely that he would be moved absent the team eating a huge portion of his salary. The same could be said for Miguel Cabrera who, despite still being one of the best hitters in baseball, is making between $28-32 million between now and 2023. A wonderful player, but an extraordinarily difficult contract to move. Both superstars have full no-trade protection as 10-5 men as well.

At the moment the rebuild does not seem to be materializing and the Tigers — as I think they should, probably — will enter 2017 aiming for the AL Central crown, not aiming at restocking their farm system.

But what will Verlander think, however, if the Tigers find themselves out of contention come May? What will he think if Ian Kinsler — a valuable player on a tradable contract — is sold off? Or Justin Upton? Or J.D. Martinez?

It’s worth watching.

Report: Ian Kinsler could be a fallback option for Dodgers

DETROIT, MI - JULY 15: Ian Kinsler #3 of the Detroit Tigers rounds third base after hitting a solo home run to left field during the first inning of the game against the Kansas City Royals on July 15, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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According to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, Tigers’ infielder Ian Kinsler could be a “possible fallback option” for the Dodgers if talks with Twins’ second baseman Brian Dozier continue to stall. This isn’t the first time the two have been connected, as the Dodgers reportedly made inquiries on Kinsler as early as last November. The Twins are rumored to be on the fence about dealing Dozier, however, which could up the Dodgers’ interest in working out a trade with the Tigers.

Kinsler, 34, polished off another productive season in 2016, racking up 5.8 fWAR while slashing .288/.348/.484 with 28 home runs in 679 PA. Aside from his sizable contributions at the plate, part of his appeal lies in his contract, which guarantees him $11 million for the 2017 season with a $10 million option (and $5 million buyout) for 2018. Although his salary figure shouldn’t break the bank, the Dodgers have reason to be wary, as Kinsler previously stated that he is unwilling to waive his partial no-trade clause without a contract extension.

Despite the potential difficulty in making a deal with the Dodgers, who happen to be one of the 10 teams on Kinsler’s no-trade list, no other teams have been seriously linked to the second baseman this winter. The Tigers are still looking to shed a hefty portion of their payroll, and Cafardo notes that they might also consider moving shortstop Jose Iglesias this winter in order to get under the luxury tax threshold.

Anthony Bass is eyeing a return to MLB

ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 03:  Anthony Bass #63 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Chicago White Sox in the fifth inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on June 3, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Free agent right-hander Anthony Bass is reportedly looking for a major league deal in 2017, and MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports that the 29-year-old is already in talks with “five or six teams.” While no offers appear to be on the table just yet, Bass has been linked to both the Tigers and Rangers, the latter of whom was the last organization to give the righty a big league platform.

Bass last appeared in the majors during the 2015 season, pitching to a 4.50 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 rate in 64 innings with the Rangers. He was traded to the Mariners in a five-player swap during the offseason, then released by Seattle in January so he could pursue an opportunity with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of NPB. During the Fighters’ 2016 campaign, he worked out of the rotation and bullpen, racking up a 3.65 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.2 SO/9 in 23 relief appearances and 14 starts.

In November, Bass announced his intention to return stateside for the 2017 season via Twitter:

According to Beck, Bass’ first preference is to work out of the rotation, despite having only 18 major league starts under his belt since 2011, but Beck notes that the right-hander is willing to consider a bullpen role if need be.