With two weeks to go until the real trade deadline, the market for Justin Verlander has ground to a standstill, the reasons threefold: the lack of clarity by the Detroit Tigers on their direction, the slow-playing of interested teams and Verlander’s choice not to pursue a deal through public or backchannel lobbying. In an era when on-the-fly rebuilds are passé, full tear-downs preferred and a compelling case exists for Detroit to blow up its core, competing executives and those with whom the Tigers have spoken about trades said they can’t figure out Detroit’s plan. Perhaps, opposing executives muse, it is strategy to hold onto Verlander and second baseman Ian Kinsler into the winter and re-assess after outfielder Justin Upton makes a decision whether to opt out of the final four years and $88 million of his deal – a choice looking likelier by the day.
No real theme this week. Unless you consider no theme a theme. The rankings (records through Wednesday’s games): 1. Los Angeles Dodgers (85-34; Previous: 1): Dodgers will take rest of regular season for some “me time.” 2. Houston Astros (74-46; Previous
ARLINGTON, Texas – Umpire Angel Hernandez has shaken hands on the field with Ian Kinsler, a day after the Detroit Tigers second baseman said the veteran ump should find another job. Hernandez was working second base tonight for the finale of Detroit’s series at Texas. When Kinsler took his position for the bottom of the first inning, there appeared to be a few words shared between the two before Hernandez walked up to Kinsler and shook his hand, and then briefly put his hand on the second baseman’s shoulder. It wasn’t clear who initiated the handshake. “He shook my hand," Kinsler said after the game. Asked if everything was good, Kinsler responded: “Yeah." Kinsler’s harsh and extended criticism