Player: Justin Verlander – Starting Pitcher, 39 years old
Team: Houston Astros
Contract: One year / $25 million (w/ a $25 million player option for 2023)
Past Career/Last Year Highlights
- #2 overall pick in 2004 MLB Draft
- 72.2 Career WAR
- 2006 Rookie of the Year
- 2011 MVP
- 2017 ALCS MVP
- 2x Cy Young winner (2011 & 2019)
- 8x All-Star
- 21-6, 2.58 ERA and 300 K in 2019
- Only made 1 start in 2020 and missed all of 2021
Houston Astros’ Recent History: 95-67 in 2021, lost World Series to Atlanta Braves (4-2)
Made postseason five straight seasons
Won World Series in 2017 (ASTERISK!!!!!)
This would be an A+ without the player option for 2023 but it’s clear that was needed to bring Verlander back to Houston. Are the Astros paying for past success a bit with this deal? Undoubtedly.
Houston is coming off a World Series loss and is likely to lose star shortstop Carlos Correa during this offseason. A Verlander reunion strangely might be the most fiscally responsible decision they can make to offset any fan disappointment.
There’s also the potential for Verlander’s final season with Houston to have some historic moments. He needs 359 strikeouts to pass Greg Maddux for 10th all-time, 21 wins to pass Bartolo Colon for 50th all-time, and 269 innings pitched to pass Kevin Brown for 100th all-time.
I’m not one for spectacle, but if this could be in the same game then it’s only fitting the opposing team signs Colon for the game so he can bat vs. Verlander.
The Astros made it to the World Series last season without a true ace and saw great performances from a core of young/ascending starters. Adding Verlander back into that mix should keep this team in contention for at least two more seasons.
Turf Analysis – Grade = B
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