MacLennan: The case of the disappearing franchise player

From Ashley MacLennan at The Hardball Times on February 6, 2018:

In the late hours of Aug. 31, 2017, with mere seconds left until the deadline, Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander was given a choice and very little time to make it. The choice was between staying with the team with which he had debuted, and with which he had spent 13 years establishing his legacy, or moving on to a franchise that was on the cusp of achieving greatness.

Verlander later told reporters, “It’s hard to put into words the emotions going on–from uprooting my family to everything you can imagine. Someone says, ‘You have 35, 40 minutes to decide. You know nothing about it. Go!’”

Ultimately, Verlander’s choice came down to which team could help him achieve his long-term goals. At 34 years old and with one rebound already in his career following a shaky season, Verlander chose to accept a trade to the Houston Astros with the hope he could finally win the World Series ring that had evaded him in 2006, 2012, 2013 and 2014. He wanted that milestone for himself and knew it wouldn’t come to him in Detroit, where the team was poised for a tear-down and rebuild.

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Originally published: February 6, 2018. Last Updated: February 6, 2018.