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Justin Verlander in MLB free agency: 5 ideal landing spots for Cy Young Award winner

Jason Burgos
justin verlander
Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander was already a pitcher garnering notable attention in MLB free agency, but now, with another American League Cy Young Award in the trophy case, the 39-year-old may be one of the most sought-after players on the market.

The 2022 season was always going to be a big year in the career of Justin Verlander. He returned to action after missing all of 2021 following Tommy John surgery and needed to prove that he was still an impact player on the perennial contender Astros squad.

However, as the season progressed, those goals shifted. Verlander went from a player trying to prove he still has it, to a well-aged ace trying to bring a second championship to Houston. While also building his value for a possible jump into free agency in the offseason.

Well, the Detroit Tigers great helped the organization achieve the ultimate goal and then exercised his contractual right to test his value as an MLB free agent this winter. Justin Verlander was already a talent that had the attention of several teams, however, being awarded the AL Cy Young award put a stamp on his place as one of the best pitchers in the game right now.

Also Read: MLB free agency rumors – Updating the latest free agency news, rumors

That is why he will be getting a lot of offers from franchises around the league hoping that he is the missing piece to their championship hopes. Let’s take a look at five teams with the best chances of landing the three-time Cy Young award winner.

New York Mets

justin verlander
Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets showed in 2022 that they have the talent to be a legitimate title contender. However, homegrown ace Jacob deGrom is also on the market and there is some doubt the team will be able to re-sign him. Since they already have a pitcher on the staff making a ridiculous sum of money in Max Scherzer.

On Monday, SNY reported that the Mets have an interest in Verlander as a possible replacement option for deGrom. While the Astros pitcher is older than the New York ace, he would likely come at a far more affordable rate, while offering a player of a similar talent level.

New York Yankees

Many around the league have speculated the Yankees could target Verlander this winter. The team certainly could improve its starting staff for 2023, and the idea of reuniting the same duo that helped the Astros win the World Series in 2017 — Verlander and Gerrit Cole — has to be intriguing to them.

  • Justin Verlander stats (2022): 18-4, 1.75 ERA, 175 IP, 185 SO, 25 BB

Plus, it would also be a way to help their own team while hurting a top AL rival in the Astros.

Los Angeles Dodgers

justin verlander
Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

There have been rumblings that the Los Angeles Dodgers could shift their focus to Verlander after falling short in their pursuit of Tyler Anderson. The organization is never afraid to shell out money to improve its World Series chances. But after having the best record in MLB last season and getting bounced in the divisional round, the team may feel added pressure to acquire a game-changer like Justin Verlander to make sure they reach their goals in 2023.

Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers are expected to be players in the MLB free-agent market, just like they were last winter. As of now, they are believed to be one of the top competitors for deGrom’s services. However, if they come up short in the chase for the Mets star, Verlander would certainly be a nice consolation prize. Furthermore, the team has the money to overpay for a short-term deal if needed.

Houston Astros

While all signs point to the possibility of Justin Verlander wearing a different uniform in 2023, it isn’t unlikely he re-signs with the Houston Astros. His decision to opt out was based on trying to land one last big contract while he can, and not about being unhappy in Houston.

Clearly, the organization has a good thing going with the future Hall-of-Famer, and maintaining that relationship gives them a better chance of repeating as champions next season.