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Series Preview: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays (7/23-7/25)

Following their rain-shortened two-game series split against the Mets at home this past weekend, the Yankees head down South for three days to face the Rays in Tampa Bay.  Tropicana Field has, in a way, been a house of horrors for New York, having gone just 4-9 at The Trop since the beginning of 2017 including an ugly three-game sweep just a month ago. The Yankees will begin play today at 63-34, five full games behind the first place Red Sox.  Tampa Bay comes in at 50-49, 19 games out of first and 9.5 games back of Seattle for the second Wild Card position. With trade rumors swirling for both squads and the teams headed in opposite directions, this series provides a key opportunity for the Yankees to get back on track and put pressure on Boston to once again close up the AL East race.

MLB Trade Rumors: The Yankees are reported to be players in the Justin Verlander market

With a lack of starting pitching on the market, teams are starting to decide whether or not to cash in on this scarcity of arms and receive major hauls back. One of those teams is the Detroit Tigers, who are an aging team with a subpar farm system. Their ace Justin Verlander has been made available, and according to multiple league sources, the Yankees are said to be a team interested in the RHP.
Photo Credit: AP
Justin Verlander is a legitimate ace who has had a very successful career in the Major Leagues only playing for the Detroit Tigers. After a near Cy Young victory in 2016, Verlander has had a down season in 2017 with a 4.73 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, and an American League leading 51 walks, which is only six less than he had all last season. Despite his poor stats, Verlander has the track record that will entice many teams in late-July. Verlander could be an impact arm down the stretch and be trusted in a playoff rotation.

Verlander, 34, will likely still require a large haul from any team as the Tigers aren’t completely sold on being sellers. Teams have also expressed interest in their younger, more controllable pitchers, such as, Michael Fulmer and Daniel Norris. Verlander comes with an expensive contract, but is also controllable as he is signed through at least 2019 with a vesting option for 2020.

Verlander may come cheaper than Sonny Gray and Jose Quintana, especially if the Yankees eat a massive portion of the rest of Verlander’s contract. 

Stay tuned for news regarding the Tiger veteran.  

Article by: Ryan Thoms