justin verlander Won his third Cy Young Award of his career on Wednesday night after a season that saw him post a career-best 220 ERA+ in 28 starts. Verlander, who spearheaded that effort as a member Houston Astros, It just so happens that has now become a free agent. Tomorrow’s price, you can be sure, is not the same as today’s price.
Of course, Verlander was already one of the most sought-after free agents of the winter in our estimation. CBS Sports recently ranked him as the sixth best free agent in the class, and second best pitcher, writing the following,
Verlander’s most notable season was . Remember back in the spring, when it was unclear how well or how much he would pitch after missing most of the last two seasons due to Tommy John surgery? He put those concerns out to pasture in a hurry, making 27 starts and performing well enough to compete for a third career Cy Young Award. And he has done so at a time when his 40th birthday is nearing. Verlander has led a fascinating life in many ways, there’s no doubt about it, but it’s admirable that he’s maintained the kind of work ethic and passion for the game that has come his way despite nearly everything he’s accomplished. The pitcher can complete. He could have walked away and waited on his call from Cooperstown. Instead he attempted to bring this back to good, an impressive feat, and one that helps explain the success he has enjoyed throughout his career. He declined a one-year option worth $25 million. He should invest more money.
In anticipation of Verlander’s latest accomplishment, we thought we’d do the thankless task of ranking his potential landing spots. (You could argue that this is pointless work too, but we’re in favor of keeping the existential dread out.) Anyway, this exercise is, as always, highly subjective and for entertainment purposes only. Keep this in mind when you feel your blood pressure rise while reading. With all the necessary couching and caving in to get out of the way, let’s get to it.
Tier 1: Listing Them Because We Have To
28. miami marlins
27. cleveland patron
26. colorado rockies
22. Cincinnati Reds
20. minnesota twins
Verlander possibly looking for AAV worth more than $40 million similar to deal Max Scherzer signed last winter with New York Mets, Can you even imagine how Pirates owner Bob Nutting would react if Ben Cherrington suggested they pay that much money to a single player, let alone 40 years old? Verlander is going to get paid and will not play for a non-contender. One or the other (and in some cases both) part kills these teams in our opinion.
Tier 2: Would be nice, but not going to happen
19. Detroit Tigers
We’re suckers for players returning to their original teams before the end of their careers, à la Zack Greinke Last season with the Kansas City Royals. Alas, we don’t think Verlander is at all likely to consider the Tigers for the reasons listed above.
Tier 3: Probably doesn’t fit
16. seattle mariners
15. tampa bay rays
1 1 san diego padres
These teams are all contenders or close to it, but we doubt they match Verlander for one reason or another. For example, the Rays aren’t going to fumble for what it will take to get him into town. The Phillies, for another, probably aren’t spending their money on another veteran starter when they have Andrew Painter (one of the Best young weapon in the minors) on the way. And so on and so forth.
Tier 4: A Case to be Made
10. Texas Rangers
The Rangers, Bell of the Ball last winter, have a clear and present need to pitch to that newcomer. Jake Odorizzi alone will not solve. As an added bonus, signing Verlander away from the Astros would allow the Rangers to feel good about themselves in relation to their in-state rivals for the first time in a long time. Even with those facts established, we highly doubt the Rangers land Verlander. They have to outshine everyone else by a reasonable margin. It is possible, but not likely.
The Red Sox are losing most of their rotation to free agency, making them an obvious candidate to take a swing at a veteran starter or three. volume aspect we think the Red Sox are probably more likely to target downmarket types, be it Andrew Heaney, rather than Jose Quintana or Verlander someone else in that range. Although it would be nice to see the Red Sox behaving like a big market again.
Speaking of behaving like a big market, we fully expect to chase the giants aaron judge And this winter throw the coin here and there. Verlander could be part of their plans, though we suspect they won’t be the only National League West team vying to add him to their rotation. The other team has better World Series odds, which makes it difficult to place the Giants very high on this list.
Braves still have to resolve their shortstop position, re-signing dansby swanson Or adding one of the other top free agents to the mix. Until that is known, it is difficult for us to see how much they will spend to get hold of Verlander. That said, Alex Anthopoulos works quickly and aggressively, so who knows for sure.
We’re hoping that happens because it will be fun to see the innovative Orioles land a premium free-agent talent. Furthermore, the Orioles are typically managed by former Astros executives who are familiar with Verlander from their shared time together. Will the Orioles really pay Verlander what it will take? And would he be willing to link up with a team that hasn’t played a season since 2016? We’re not certain on either aspect, and that kept us from putting the Orioles up a bit.
Step 5: Favorites
the yankees are losing jameson talon For free agency, that means they could use another reliable starting pitcher. Verlander’s reunion and gerrit cole Reads like a win on paper, but Brian Cashman has to worry about himself first to shut down Aaron Judge. We’re not sure the Yankees would be willing to add another $70 million (or so) to their tax numbers, even if it’s just for a year or two. We’re listing them highly anyway, just in case they start to feel like the old Yankees.
4. New York Mets
On the subject of contingency plans, the Mets still have to figure out how to retain or replace the ace jacob degrom and center fielder brandon nimmo, That’ll keep Billy Epler busy enough, but could he look to Verlander as a Plan B if the deGrom bid goes beyond his comfort zone? Heck, does owner Steven Cohen even have the limits of his comfort zone? We’ll soon find out, we guess.
3. chicago cubs
The Cubs, in addition to the Giants, are one of the trendy underdogs to choose to land a top free agent or two. Most of their efforts seem focused on shortstops, but wouldn’t Verlander be a nifty addition to the top of Chicago’s rotation? He would give the Cubs a legitimate frontline starter and an invaluable resource for their young arms. We’re probably overestimating the possibility, but it’s good to dream.
We joked earlier that we feel legally obligated to list dodgers near the top of these types of pieces, regardless of fit. However, you have to admit that the Dodgers chasing Verlander makes a lot of sense. They have a high amount of payroll flexibility this winter, and they’ll stay down walker buehler for next year. Andrew Friedman has shown a willingness to hand down short-term, high-salary deals in the past. Verlander figures to be chasing the exact same deal. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the Dodgers are almost certain to enter the spring as one of the World Series favorites.
1. Houston Astros
Owner Jim Crane played a big part in the original trade that landed Verlander. He has since taken on more power on the baseball operations front, so it stands to reason that Astro will continue to be front and center on Verlander. That doesn’t mean they’ll keep him — if the past week-plus has shown anything, it’s that Crane is willing to make bold, potentially unpopular decisions — but it does make him a reasonable favorite.
Data Source www.cbssports.com