Tigers should trade Verlander? Sunday's game further complicates matter

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Can you see Justin Verlander in a Chicago Cubs uniform?

According to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, the Cubs have "inquired" about Tigers ace Justin Verlander's availability, along with catcher Alex Avila. The two sides haven't yet engaged in trade negotiations, however. The 2011 Cy Young Award victor and American League MVP owns a 3.53 career ERA and has 2,289 career strikeouts. Verlander is 5-5 with a 4.96 ERA and 96 strikeouts over 17 starts.

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If Olney is correct, which we have no reason to believe otherwise, the Tigers are either going to get a great deal for Verlander before the trade deadline or they are going to keep him around. Verlander was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2004 MLB June Amateur Draft. The contest marked the first time in 331 games that Verlander didn't have a strikeout. After a rocky first few seasons with the team, Avila can not produce a sub-par return for the team's best homegrown player of this generation and if Verlander throws up a couple more duds, he will be forced to. He has a vesting option for 2020, per Spotrac.

Now 2.5 games out of first place in the NL Central and even further back in the wild card race - 6.5 games behind second-place Colorado - the defending champion Chicago Cubs may be looking for a spark with the All-Star break rapidly approaching. After the departure of Miguel Montero, the Cubs also could use a veteran catcher.

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Several front-office sources told Yahoo Sports last week they expect Verlander to hit the trade market sometime in early to mid-July. Verlander has a full no-trade clause, so he'd have to sign off on a potential landing spot. The Los Angeles Dodgers showed the most interest in Verlander this winter, according to the report. Major League Baseball's trade deadline in on July 31.

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