Why This Player Can Help the Yankees Win a Title
By Derek McAdam
November 19, 2021
The offseason is officially underway, with two top pitchers agreeing to deals with new clubs. Eduardo Rodriguez will head to Detroit after agreeing to a five-year, $77 million contract and Noah Syndergaard agreeing to a one-year, $21 million deal with the Angels.
Although the Yankees were interested in bringing Syndergaard across the borough from Queens, they faced heavy competition from both Toronto and Boston, who both reportedly made aggressive offers.
There are still many free-agent pitchers available including Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Robbie Ray and several other notable names, but there is one pitcher that the Yankees can realistically acquire.
Even though he has only pitched in one game since the start of the 2020 season, Justin Verlander may be a perfect fit for the Yankees. He would not sign as the ace of the rotation, but can potentially form a lethal 1-2 punch with Gerrit Cole.
Verlander will turn 39 in February and while he is fully healthy, there is the possibility that he may not be able to return to his former self on the mound. But that is a risk the Yankees should be willing to take since they just took the same risk with Corey Kluber.
These stats were all obtained before Verlander’s injury in 2020 that sidelined him for the rest of the shortened season and all of 2021. But there is still a chance that he will come back strong for whatever team he is with.
Verlander is in the same class with Scherzer, Cole and several other big-league starters. They are all workhorses who will grind through seven, eight or even nine innings. He is 12 innings shy of pitching in 3,000 career innings and trails only Zack Greinke for most by an active pitcher.
If the Yankees want to have a shot at competing for a World Series, they are going to need pitching help. With the current starting rotation, they can make the playoffs, but that is not even guaranteed with the impressive Toronto and Boston teams.
The Yankees can offer Verlander a one-year deal with a mutual option for a second year if he meets certain requirements. Not only do the Yankees avoid a long-term commitment, but they may be able to give him a few more million dollars per season to help lure him in.
For what it’s worth, Verlander’s wife Kate Upton has been a known Yankee fan. Is she a possible influence to get Verlander to the Big Apple? She may be, but the Yankees will still have to make a strong pitch to bring the World Series Champion to the Bronx.