Orioles Rumors: Justin Verlander could be premier trade deadline target for Baltimore

Baltimore is already getting linked to some of the biggest names thought to be available at the trade deadline this year.
Houston Astros v Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros v Detroit Tigers / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

The Baltimore Orioles are exactly where they want to be right now. They sit atop the AL East having won seven of their last 10 games to maintain their half-game lead over the Yankees. After a host of injuries to start the season, their starting rotation is finally getting healthy, and other than some concerns in their bullpen involving one Craig Kimbrel, everything seems to be falling into place for them.

Still, there is plenty of speculation as to what the Orioles' front office will do at the trade deadline this year, especially with a (hopefully) more supportive ownership group at the top now. Assuming Corbin Burnes keeps pitching his brains out and the health of the rotation continues to improve, starting pitcher is less of a concern than it was a few weeks ago. However, at least one insider believes that a blockbuster move for Justin Verlander at the trade deadline could happen.

Orioles Rumors: Could Baltimore really swing a trade for Verlander at the deadline?

Starting pitching should always be considered a need for every contending team at the trade deadline. Even if Burnes is pitching great, Grayson Rodriguez returns from the IL without issue, and both John Means' and Kyle Bradish's arms hold up over the next couple of months, having depth in the rotation for the stretch is critically important. A healthy and productive Verlander would certainly be an upgrade over at least one rotation spot.

Verlander even being potentially available is pretty wild. The Astros were preseason favorites to make a deep postseason run again, but instead have been a disaster on multiple fronts and find themselves 10 games below .500 in the middle of May. While their general manager, Dana Brown, is publicly saying that the team doesn't plan on selling at the deadline, there is no question that the possibility is being at least floated privately, especially with Houston's payroll at its limit this year and some future extensions to consider.

The fit isn't exactly perfect for the Orioles, though. While Heyman may believe that Verlander would provide the necessary approval for a trade to Baltimore, as he is from Virginia and the Orioles are top-level contenders, Baltimore may have reason to pump the brakes. Verlander is 41 years old and is making a healthy eight figures a year. While he has been largely good in 2024, he has had his ups and downs, including an injury to start the season. He might be, on any given night, but doesn't appear likely to be the same pitcher he once was consistently. Do the Orioles really want to pony up a big time prospect package to acquire a guy with that many question marks, helping Mike Elias' old villains in the process?

We'll find out soon enough if Baltimore decides to get aggressive at the trade deadline, and Verlander is certainly going to be a topic of conversation, but it is far from a lock that the Orioles are going to go particularly hard in trying to make a move for him.

More Orioles News from Birds Watcher