Houston Astros star Justin Verlander has enjoyed a career renaissance in 2022. After undergoing Tommy John surgery almost two years ago and missing the 2021 campaign, his MLB future was in doubt at age 39. But Verlander felt as if he had more left in the tank and opted not to retire. He ultimately re-signed with the Astros this past offseason and has been excellent in Houston against all odds.
But Verlander recently sat down with MLB insider Jeff Passan and revealed a surprise team he almost signed with during the offseason:
“Houston was at the top of the list,” Verlander declared. “As negotiations started going, they kind of fell off. Some other teams really started to show a lot of interest. I would say that the leader was probably Toronto. They were great. And I talked to George (Springer) a bunch. They were very proactive to the point that when I signed with Houston, I made sure to let them know that I appreciated it all. It was all kind of ballpark between them and Toronto, and New York (Yankees) was kind of always just a step behind.”
George Springer, Verlander's former Astros teammate and current Blue Jays superstar, was likely the driving force behind Toronto's push for Verlander. He seemed to have recruited him during the offseason. In the end, the future Hall of Famer returned to Houston and would be in the Cy Young conversation if the season ended today.
The MLB landscape would have drastically changed had Justin Verlander ended up on the Blue Jays. The Astros have to be thrilled they were able to re-sign him in free agency.