The 39-year-old has a player option with the Astros for one year, $25 million for 2023. That option was made available to him as long as he surpassed 130 innings, which he easily did. Many analysts believe that Verlander will not re-enter free agency. Instead, they believe he will go in search of a big contract and another championship run.
Despite an injury to his shoulder in 2020, Verlander has returned stronger than ever. He proved this season that he is still a valuable asset for any team in the MLB.
Justin Verlander is a 3x Cy Young Award winner, 9x All-Star and American League MVP winner
Verlander is a nine-time All-Star, an AL MVP, a three-time Cy Young winner and a two-time World Series MVP. There will be no shortage of offers for the experienced and efficient right-hander.
We took a look at five possible destinations next season for the future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander.
#5 New York Mets
The New York Mets are rumored to be linked with numerous high-profile free agents this offseason. With Jacob deGrom also set to become a free agent, the Mets may have a hole in their starting rotation. Max Scherzer is also getting up there in years with the Cy Young winner set to turn 39 years old next season.
With one of the richest owners in the league, the Mets are willing to spend big on talent. They won 101 games this season but once again fell short of a World Series title. The organization is very close to finding a winning formula. Verlander could be the missing piece to the puzzle.
#4 Philadelphia Phillies
After a phenomenal season, the Philadelphia Phillies fell just short. They will look to add to their roster and improve during the offseason.
The Phillies are in dire need of starting pitching. No pitcher in the Phillies’ starting rotation has won more than 12 games this season (Zack Wheeler, 12). Noah Syndergaard was brought in during the trade deadline but has failed to live up to expectations.
With uncertainty over whether Aaron Nola will return, the Phillies are short in the pitching department. The offense proved in 2022 that they have the talent to take them all the way. It is now a question of fixing the pitching issues in Philadelphia.
#3 New York Yankees
After another disappointing finish to the season, Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner are under heavy pressure to bring in reinforcements during the offseason.
The New York Yankees offense finished the regular season in a higher percentile in most categories. Led by Aaron Judge, the team was able to put runs on the board.
The club will look to add depth and experience to the starting rotation. Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes were both All-Stars this season. They will most likely remain. The team has an option on Luis Severino’s contract.
There is a need for another top-tier starting pitcher. This role could be ideal for a player who has proven he can handle the spotlight and pressure of big games. The bright lights of the Big Apple could be a perfect fit for Justin Verlander.
#2 Houston Astros
There is no concrete evidence that Justin Verlander will leave Houston. He is happy in Texas and is thriving among a talented group of players. The $25 million player option will most likely be rejected by Verlander, but the Astros could come back with a better offer.
“Could be the last play of Justin Verlander as an Astros” – Michael Schwab
The Houston Astros are rich in pitching talent with Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, Lance McCullen and Jose Urquidy in the starting rotation. All of those players are under 30 years of age. Justin Verlander is the elder statesman in the rotation. He brings experience and depth to a young pitching core. If the Astros hope to repeat in 2023, they may want to offer Verlander a contract that is too good to refuse.
#1 Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers will most likely spend big in the offseason after once again falling short in 2022. The organization had the best record in MLB with 111 wins, but had an anti-climactic finish to the season.
Over the previous season, the Dodgers have proven they have the funds to attract top-tier talent. They remain at the top of the MLB payroll charts year after year. If Justin Verlander is looking for a big payday, Los Angeles could be the place to be. With Clayton Kershaw set to become a free agent, the Dodgers are desperately in need of a premier ace to fill the role.