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Report: Cubs have issue with Justin Verlander salary in potential trade

Having already acquired Jose Quintana from the Chicago White Sox, most figured the defending champion Cubs might be looking in another direction to find an upgrade on their roster.

Though, that can pretty much be thrown out the window after Chicago reportedly expressed interest in both Sonny Gray and Justin Verlander. Adding another top-end arm to the rotation would be a big deal for a Cubs team that’s in the midst of a mediocre season.

But the organization doesn’t seem to be willing to yield its financial flexibility in a deal to acquire Verlander from the Detroit Tigers.

Already sitting on a $179 million payroll for this season, that makes a ton of sense. Add in the fact that the 34-year-old Verlander is set to make $56 million over the next two seasons, and this is magnified even further.

At this point in his career, Verlander is likely nothing more than a No. 3 starter for a contending team. He’s pitching to a 5-7 record with a 4.50 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 21 starts on the season. This does come on the heels of a 2016 campaign that saw Verlander put up a tremendous 3.04/1.00 split for the Tigers.

The issue here is that Detroit might be valuing Verlander at 2011 levels, meaning the team could very well be looking for any trade partner to pick up most his remaining salary while still receiving top assets in return. That’s obviously not going to happen.