Verlander
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

For the Right Price, Verlander should be a Yankee

Earlier this week, Starting Pitcher Justin Verlander held a workout that had scouts from “15-20 teams”, The Post’s Joel Sherman reported. The workout took place at Eric Cressley’s facility in Florida. Cressey oversees the Yankees’ training and strength departments, which of course already sparked rumors about the possibility that Verlander may be a Yankee:

In 2020, Verlander got hurt during his first start of the season. He spent the entire season rehabbing and was making an incredible recovery. There was even potential for him to return to help the Astros in the 2020 playoffs until he got hurt again during a 75-pitch simulated game. Verlander received Tommy-John surgery that September, and has been rehabbing since.

It’s been reported that Verlander was touching 96 mph in his workout Monday. In his later years before the injury, he would throw around that speed occasionally touching 97 mph. If he’s still pumping 96 and impressing scouts, it could be in the Yankees’ best interest to go after Verlander, if the price is right.

Justin Verlander Fits the Yankees

Verlander is one of those pitchers who before the injury, looked like he had a lot left in the tank. I mean how could he not, being the 2019 Cy-Young Winner over Gerrit Cole, who had an incredibly dominant second half and playoffs that year.

Last year, the Yankees were in a similar situation and signed Corey Kluber after he pitched only an inning in the 2020 season. That came back to bite them, as he spent nearly 60 days on the injured list in a push the Yankees could have really used the help in. I wouldn’t doubt the Yankees are thinking the same possibility happening to Verlander. However, Verlander is not Kluber. He’s been able to produce for years now, in his 2019 Cy-Young season he posted a 2.58 ERA to complement a WHIP of 0.83 and over 300 strikeouts.

It’s egregious to think he puts up numbers similar to that. However, I still think this is a high-risk high-reward for the Yankees with much more upside than previous pitchers they took a chance on. Kluber was really a shot in the dark, the fact that they got a no-hitter out of him is incredible.

The Yankees have begun speaking to Free Agent Shortstop and former Astro Carlos Correa. After the Rangers signed hitting Coach Tim Hyer who was on the Yankees radar, they have to explore elsewhere to replace the horrid Marcus Thames. I’m sure they’re looking at the possibility of Troy Snitker, the Astro’s hitting coach as well. The Yankees could slowly be replicating more and more of what the Astros’ do, as they come to terms with the fact that their philosophies and ideologies fail year after year.

How Much for Justin Verlander, and How Long?

The aforementioned tweet says that Houston extended a qualifying offer to Verlander for $18.4 million. It’s unknown where Verlander’s heart resides in terms of whether he wants to stay in Houston or go. However the obvious is that any other team who wants Verlander will probably have to offer around $20 million per year, whether it be a one or two-year deal.

A two-year deal is of course much riskier than a one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees offered Verlander a two-year contract. I’m sure they won’t be the only ones as well. Verlander looks to be a sought-after player this offseason, and he won’t come without a somewhat-hefty price tag.

However, there are no such things as a bad one-year deal.

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