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Detroit — Hours after Detroit Tigers traded famed pitcher Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros, fans reacted with sorrow near Comerica Park on Friday.

Many said Detroit’s loss would be Houston’s gain.

“It’s unfortunate that he is going to Houston now, with all the floods,” said Margaret Leary, an Ann Arbor resident. “But he’ll probably help Houston get to the World Series.”

Leary’s friend, Betsy Jackson, interjected: “Wouldn’t that figure?”

“Sure, that’s why they want him,” Leary said. “He’s still a very good pitcher in spite of his age. Throughout the season he has just been getting better and better. It’s a loss for Detroit.”

Verlander, 34, spent 13 seasons with the Tigers but in a stunning late-night move, he was traded to the Astros just before midnight Thursday for three younger players: Franklin Perez, a 19-year-old right-handed pitcher; Daz Cameron, a 20-year-old outfielder; and Jake Rogers, a 22-year-old catcher.

The news broke as Frank Gonzales was finishing up a late-night cooking shift at Detroit’s Anchor Bar.

“I think it’s good,” said Gonzales, 30. “He gave us a good 12 years, it’s time for him to go on.

“There’s no lost feelings here. He deserved it after all the blood, sweat and tears he put in. He’s done a lot for this city, in and outside the organization. He did his work, he really did. Hopefully Houston gives him a championship.”

Down the street, Dalton Peer was working overnight on the Federal Courthouse for the Local 1191 construction crew.

“It’s good for the rebuilding process,” Peer, 22, said of Verlander. “But it’s hard because he was a fan favorite for so long.”

At Comerica Park hours later, fans were still processing the loss.

“It’s sad, we want him to be remembered as a Tiger,” said Joe Lambers, a 27-year-old Royal Oak resident who was headed to the game. “We understand why it happened. And we wish him good luck, and hope that one day he will return to Detroit. Hopefully.”

His friend, Brett Cavanaugh, said he grew up watching Verlander.

“I considered him one of my favorite players for a long time,” said Cavanaugh, 28, of Muskegon. “I just hope that the prospects that we have pan out and we can build our team up to where we are contenders again and wish him the best of luck in Houston.”

Detroit resident Julonda Randle said she hates to see Verlander leave Detroit.

“I don’t think about the Tigers without thinking about Verlander, and not just because he is cute,” said Randle, 41. “He brought a different type of energy. When people talk about the Tigers, they rarely leave out Verlander. He’s like family.”

Julie Altesleben contributed.

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