MLB Rumors: Astros & Justin Verlander "Not Close"; So Who's The Favorite?

Justin Verlander is one of the 'Big Three' starting pitchers on the free agent market. He's coming off his 3rd Cy Young Award after posting a ridiculous 1.75 ERA in his comeback season after two years off from Tommy John surgery. At the age of 39. 

But the Houston Astros are not playing ball with Verlander, and according to MLB Insider Jon Heyman, the two sides are not even close on a contract.

Word is, the Astros and Justin Verlander are “far apart” in talks. Verlander seeks $130 million for three years (the Max Scherzer deal), and the Astros, with their deep rotation, seem pessimistic on Verlander.

In fact, according to Heyman's sources, the Astros absolutely do not want to go past one or two years on a deal. “Quietly, they prefer not to sign him for three years. Verlander was great in-season but they carried him in the postseason,” one person familiar with the Astros’ thinking said. “No one [in Houston] wants to go three [years],” another source adds.  

So who does that leave in the mix for the 9-time All-Star going into his age-40 season? Plenty of deep-pocketed teams do seem willing to step up to the plate, says Heyman. He lists three teams.

New York Mets

Their No. 1 priority is their own generational pitcher, Jacob deGrom. But if they can't get that done, says Heyman, the Mets are "intrigued" by the possibility of reuniting Verlander with Max Scherzer — the two formed a dynamic duo in the Detroit Tigers rotation, and went to the 2012 World Series together. 

New York Yankees

The Yanks tried for Verlander last year, and were a consideration till the end, so they're giving it another shot. 

Los Angeles Dodgers

Verlander and his actress/model wife Kate Upton have a home in LA. And of course, the Dodgers are in need filling a big hole in the rotation while Walker Buehler sits out 2023 recovering from Tommy John.

“If he doesn’t stay with the Astros, he’ll probably go to the Dodgers,” says the exec of an interested team, according to Jon Heyman. 

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