Breaking News: Justin Verlander to Stay in Houston
After speculation across many pundits about where the former AL MVP and 2x AL Cy Young award winner tabbed the New York Yankees as a potential suitor for him in free agency, Justin Verlander is instead going to be staying with the Houston Astros.
Verlander is the 3rd pitching name out of free agency (joining Eduardo Rodriguez and Noah Syndergaard).
🚨IT’S OFFICIAL🚨@JustinVerlander is signing with Houston Astros!! — Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) November 17, 2021
Right-hander Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros are in agreement on a one-year, $25 million deal that includes a player option for a second season, sources tell ESPN.@BenVerlander had the deal first because of course he did. — Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 17, 2021
My (Quick) Thoughts:
The Yankees are going to need to get aggressive, and fast. A pitcher going into his age-39 season, coming off a rehabilitation year while recovering from Tommy John surgery just signed a 1/$25 Million contract with room to increase given a player option. Yes, that guy is Justin Verlander (who won the AL Cy Young in 2019), but that’s nuts.
Now, give credit to Justin Verlander and his agent. There has been a lot of reported turmoil between the Verlander camp and the Houston Astros players from the 2021 season, and yet he was still able to get a pretty substantial payday from that team anyway. This obviously indicates that the Astros are very happy with how Verlander is coming back from TJS, which does not make me excited for the Yankees to have to face him again in 2022.
Truthfully, I did not want Verlander for the Yankees, so I am happy he’s going- or I guess, staying- elsewhere. However, this is the 3rd pretty substantial signing this offseason which is going to set a pretty hefty price on starting pitchers. The Yankees will need to be aggressive in those pursuits.
However, aggressive does not mean stupid. This does not mean the Yankees should immediately go out an sign Robbie Ray on a massive deal, but the Yankees do not want to find themselves scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to available free agent starting pitchers for 2022.
The Yankees rotation (as it currently stands) looks to be:
Gerrit Cole (who was injured at the end of 2021)
Luis Severino (who is coming off TJS surgery and just 18 innings since 2019)
Jameson Taillon (who is recovering from surgery)
Domingo German (who missed most of August and September, 2021)
Nestor Cortes Jr./Luis Gil/Clarke Schmidt?
Available free agent pitchers who catch my interest are guys like Max Scherzer (though he’s likely going to stay a Dodger)…and truthfully that’s about it.
I think the Yankees best options to cement a good rotation going into 2021 is through the trading market. Guys like Chris Bassitt and Sean Manaea from the Oakland Athletics, Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray from the Cincinnati Reds are interesting names.
Final Final Thought:
At least Kate Upton is still a Yankees fan.