Justin Verlander will turn 40-years old in February. Nevertheless, the 2022 Cy Young hopeful will receive plenty of interest on the MLB free agent market. But where should Verlander sign in what could be the final contract of his historic career. There are 3 teams that standout as good fits for Verlander.
One team is an obvious choice. The second team would provide Verlander with a strong chance of winning another World Series. And the final best free agency destination is a long shot ball club. Without further ado, here are the 3 best free agency destinations for Justin Verlander.
Justin Verlander’s return to Houston
The Houston Astros have to be included on this list. Verlander has continued to dominate with the ‘Stros and is fresh off of a World Series championship. The star right-hander exorcised his World Series demons with an impressive outing in the Fall Classic, and Houston would love to have him back in the rotation.
Verlander was headed toward a downward spiral with the Detroit Tigers in 2017. It seemed as if the days of him being considered an ace were over. However, he found his footing once again after being traded from Detroit to Houston ahead of the 2017 trade deadline. The Astros’ 2017 World Series championship is obviously disputed by many, but Verlander played a pivotal role in their success regardless.
It would not be surprising to see Justin Verlander back in Houston next season.
Verlander and Cole in the Bronx
The New York Yankees are looking for a way to win their first World Series since 2009. In a city that demands winning, anything less than a championship is considered a failure. Given the Aaron Judge uncertainty in New York, pairing Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole atop the Yankees’ rotation would energize the fan base.
Financially, signing Verlander could prove to be difficult for New York given their other contracts on the books. But the Yankees have displayed a willingness to pay big money in the past despite the circumstances.
If he lands in the Bronx, the Yankees would automatically feature one MLB’s best rotations with Cole, Verlander, and Nestor Cortes leading the way. Poaching Verlander away from their American League nemesis, the Astros, would surely appeal to the Yankees as well.
New York has been a power-based offensive team for quite some time. However, establishing pitching dominance could help them return to the World Series.
The long shot
This next team would be a feel good story. Albeit, the odds of it happening are unlikely.
Justin Verlander could ultimately finish his career where it all began… in Detroit with the Tigers.
The Tigers entered the 2022 campaign expecting to contend. Instead, they stumbled to a 66-win season. But they have young talent with players like Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene on the roster. Additionally, Javier Baez could be in store for a bounce back season following an underwhelming 2022 campaign.
Detroit has an impressive core of young pitching talent that has not yet panned out. Justin Verlander’s veteran presence could help Detroit’s young pitching staff establish confidence at the big league level.
Again, the odds of Verlander returning to a potential non-contending Tigers team are slim. Detroit would need to add some more pieces in order to entice Verlander. It should be noted that the AL Central is the weakest division in the American League. As a result, contending would be possible with a few high-profile moves.
It will be interesting to see where Justin Verlander signs in free agency.