Hoyer: 'Of Course' Cubs Regret Not Adding Verlander

When the Astros pounced on Justin Verlander in 2017, he had his eyes on the Cubs.

McNeil & Parkins Show
September 03, 2019 - 2:48 pm

(670 The Score) As 36-year-old Astros right-hander Justin Verlander continued his dominant season with his third career no-hitter Sunday, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer admitted his organization "of course" has regret over not acquiring Verlander when he was available in 2017 and added that experience informed Chicago's decision to acquire left-hander Cole Hamels a year later.

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The Tigers had Verlander on the trade block leading up to the non-waiver deadline in 2017 and then into that August, a time when waiver trades were still allowed. After Verlander passed through revocable waivers unclaimed, the Astros dealt their No. 3, No. 9 and No. 11 prospects in their system for him. 

Verlander helped lead Houston to a World Series win in 2017, then produced All-Star seasons in 2018 and again this season, as he sits at 17-5 with American League-best marks of a 2.56 ERA and 0.77 WHIP.

"Twenty-nine other teams should have those same thoughts," Hoyer said on the McNeil & Parkins Show on Tuesday afternoon. "He passed through waivers unclaimed. Every team had a shot at him, I think it was for $56 million over two years -- $28 million times two. Listen, there's no team in baseball that can claim they had knowledge of what was about to happen, because if they had, they would've put in a claim. Because lord knows, he's been worth that contract. He's been incredible. I was watching (his no-hitter) in (our) box the other day, and it was just an exceptional example of precision power pitching. He was throwing as hard as he could, but then he was landing his curveball whenever he wanted. It was amazing. So yeah, of course there's regret."

Verlander's first choice at the time was to join the Cubs, according to multiple reports, which is why his case perhaps stings a little more for Chicago.

"That was really public," Hoyer said. "There's ones that you beat yourself up over because you think, 'What could we have seen differently? Could we have predicted this?' Obviously, we didn't. His late-career resurgence has been amazing. I will say that I think part of the impetus last year with Cole Hamels was a little bit of what we saw in Verlander, learning from that lesson -- that this was a guy, his stuff was still good in Texas but he was struggling a bit. We had that thought of, 'OK, if we get him here, get him into a better ballpark to pitch, a place where we're still in a pennant race and a ballpark he's comfortable in, maybe we can get that kind of resurgence.' Sometimes it's a very clinical baseball conversation, and sometimes you are thinking about some of those soft factors. How's this guy going to react in a pennant race? Will it energize him? I think some of the veterans, the guys like Verlander and the guys like Hamels, the guys that have pitched in the World Series, stuff like that, I think this atmosphere can energize them. I do think with Hamels, we definitely learned a little bit of a lesson (from the Verlander case) and I think we've benefited from that."