Despite missing pretty much the past two seasons, eight-time All-Star pitcher Justin Verlander had a robust MLB free-agent market.
The future Hall of Famer had been linked to the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees, among other teams. In what has to be considered a surprise, the 38-year-old Verlander has apparently opted to re-sign with the Houston Astros. His brother broke the news on social media.
Justin Verlander pitched in just one game during the truncated 2020 season due to an elbow injury. He missed the entire 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery.
Even then, this has to be seen as a pretty big move for the defending American League champions.
Justin Verlander gives Houston Astros experience
Remember, it was just back in 2019 that Verlander earned his second career Cy Young award. The righty pitched to a 21-6 record with a 2.58 ERA and 0.80 WHIP while striking out 300 batters in 223 innings.
After playing his first 13-plus seasons with the Detroit Tigers, Verlander was shipped off to Houston midway through the 2017 campaign. Since then, he’s posted a 43-15 record with a stellar 2.45 ERA and 0.83 WHIP.
Despite winning 95 games a season ago, the Astros’ rotation is somewhat thin. Fellow veteran Zack Greinke is also a free agent. At the very least, this gives Houston more depth.
As for the contract itself, it’s said to be worth $25 million over one season with a player option for the 2023 campaign.