Going back to last month -- even before the Cubs acquired lefty starter Jose Quintana -- the Cubs and Tigers were connected in rumors regarding Tigers catcher Alex Avila and starting pitcher Justin Verlander. Those rumors were resuscitated Monday by MLB Network's Jon Morosi: 

The Tigers have already moved J.D. Martinez, so they are presumably in sell mode. Of course, he was set to be a free agent after the season, so his situation is different than some others on the club. 

It's not different than Avila, though. He's a free agent after this season, so he'd be a rental in any trade. The Cubs could certainly use a veteran to combo with Willson Contreras behind the plate, too. Contreras is obviously well-equipped to be the main man behind the plate, but he can't catch every game and he's even capable of handling left field if the Cubs want to keep his bat in the lineup when he's not catching. Thus far, since Miguel Montero was cut, youngster Victor Caratini has seemed a bit overmatched in the bigs. Avila makes sense here as a rental to get Caratini more time in the minors while the Cubs contend. 

Avila, 30, is hitting .282/.406/.495 with 11 doubles and 11 homers this season in 72 games. He's throwing out opposing base-stealers at an above-average clip and only has one passed ball. He'd be an excellent complement to Contreras. Of note, not that it matters a ton, is that Avila's father, Al, is the Tigers' general manager. 

Verlander is where things get mighty interesting and probably tricky. He's 34 and clearly past his prime. Heading into Monday's start, he's 5-7 with a 4.54 ERA. He's also making $28 million next season and in 2019. That's a hefty price tag if Verlander continues pitching like this or worse. The Tigers would surely have to eat a large portion of that in any trade given how he's throwing now. 

Of course, he was 16-9 with a 3.04 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 254 strikeouts in 227 2/3 innings just last season. In a trade to the Cubs, he'd be going from the AL to the NL and we've seen Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio breath life into some other arms coming from down seasons. It wouldn't be a terrible idea for the Cubs at all. 

If the Cubs did get Verlander, they could have a tough decision to make in the rotation. Quintana, Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta aren't going anywhere, so either John Lackey (who essentially said he'd rather retire than move to the bullpen last week) or Kyle Hendricks would be bumped from the rotation -- unless the Cubs went to a six-man rotation, which is plausible. 

In all, the hunch is that Avila seems the much more likely trade target, but you never know. It's late July. Go nuts with the rumor discussions.