MLB Rumors: 3 Potential Landing Spots For Justin Verlander

Ordinarily, pitchers entering their age-40 season don't command a whole lot on the free agent market. But Justin Verlander is no ordinary pitcher. Coming back from two years off for Tommy John surgery, all he did was post a 1.75 ERA, a 0.83 WHIP, and is in line for his 3rd Cy Young Award when the announcement is made in the coming days.  

He's now set to opt-out of his $25M player option and to challenge Max Scherzer's all-time record $43M AAV contract from last offseason (3 years, $130M). Will Verlander settle for one year at a similar amount or go for a multi-year deal which would be a little less AAV? Verlander has said on many occasions that he thinks he can pitch for a few more years. 

These teams would be front and center for his services in free agency this winter:

Houston Astros

It was only a few days ago, when making his last start in the World Series (and finally getting his first win in 9 Fall Classic starts), that Verlander seemed to drop a hint that his days in Houston could possibly be over. “Really and truly, it’s been a hell of a ride no matter what happens,’’ Verlander said. “Whether I stay or don’t, I’ve really enjoyed my time with this group of guys and the city and getting to know the city. And it’s really been a blessing and a wonderful time in my career.”

Nevertheless, the Astros will certainly try to convince him to stay, although their rotation is certainly in good hands with the impressive youngsters that showed their stuff this season. 

New York Yankees

The Yankees tried to land Verlander last offseason. If they went for him then, sight unseen after two years off, you think they're still interested this year after his Cy Young season? That's a pretty safe bet.

As noted by Yankees beat writer Bryan Hoch, they offered Verlander the same $25M last year that the Astros offered. They'll have to come up quite a bit this time around.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Anytime the biggest stars and biggest contracts are on the market, you can expect the Dodgers to be in the conversation. But that's especially true with Verlander this season, as LA's starting rotation needs another frontline starter with ace Walker Buehler to miss most of the season after Tommy John surgery this summer.  Perhaps they try to woo him with that one-year record-breaking contract. 

Photo: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports