Chicago Cubs Reportedly Reach Out To Detroit Tigers About Justin Verlander's Availability

The Cubs' interest in Avila has been noted, but Verlander is a new wrinkle in the Cubs' trade possibilities.

The Chicago Cubs' starting rotation has been struggling throughout the season with ace Jake Arrieta having a 4.33 ERA.

According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Cubs have asked about both pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila, although negotiations haven't yet begun. The Tigers are now 36-45 and sit in the AL Central cellar, eight games behind the first-place Cleveland Indians. He'd likely be the 3rd starter in the Cubs rotation, with the backend being Kyle Hendricks and John Lackey. Monday evening it was reported that the team has reached out to the Detroit Tigers regarding the availability of two players.

While the Cubs undoubtedly have enough young talent to get a deal done with Detroit, keep in mind Verlander is under contract through 2019 (with a $22 million partially vesting option in 2020) and is owed a guaranteed $56 million for the next two seasons.

Verlander, 34, enjoyed a Cy Young-caliber 2016 season with a 3.04 ERA and AL-leading 254 strikeouts. In 17 games started this season, Verlander has a 5-5 record with a 4.96 ERA and just 92 strikeouts. He is batting.310 with 11 home runs and 29 RBIs while splitting time with James McCann.

Considering Avila has also thrown out 36 percent of potential base stealers (10-of-28), he represents a huge upgrade over Montero.

Avila's father, Al Avila, is now the general manager of the Tigers, so it could be hard for the Cubs to acquire the veteran catcher.

Verlander has been one of baseball's best pitchers for about a decade. The Chicago Cubs are expected to be one of the most active teams at the trade deadline since they can still win the NL Central.

Vanessa Coleman