MLB News and Rumors

3 Most Likely Free Agent Destinations for Justin Verlander

Larry Rupp
Three of the most likely free agent destinations for Justin Verlander.
Three of the most likely free agent destinations for Justin Verlander. / AP Photos/Matt Slocum

This offseason's batch of free agent pitchers is filled with talented veterans such as Jacob deGrom and Carlos Rodon. Neither one of those players is coming off a World Series title, though. Justin Verlander is and remains the favorite to be named the AL Cy Young winner in a few days, too.

That makes the nine-time All-Star one of the most coveted players on the open market. Verlander has a clear desire to compete and win, which eliminates most rebuilding teams from getting in on the negotiations. With that being said, here's a look at three of the most likely landing spots for Verlander.

Justin Verlander Free Agency

3. San Francisco Giants

The Giants have shown a tendency to lock down starting pitchers on short-term, high-upside deals. That's what they did with Anthony DeSclafani and Carlos Rodon, so it puts them in a good spot to add an established veteran like Verlander. San Francisco president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has been adamant about the front office being aggressive this offseason. If the Giants can secure Aaron Judge and one of the top free agent shortstops, they can prove to Verlander that they are a competitor in the NL West. Verlander is a fly ball pitcher and playing in the confines of Oracle Park should help limit any home runs allowed by the two-time World Series champ. That has to be at least a little bit intriguing.

2. Toronto Blue Jays

It's important to remember that the Blue Jays were the favorite to sign Verlander at one point last offseason. Former teammate and current Toronto outfielder George Springer did his best to convince the 39-year-old to come to Canada, but it didn't work out. Now the front office gets another shot at it. The Blue Jays currently own the 10th-highest payroll for 2023, which puts them in line to make a multi-year offer here. After posting a team ERA of 3.89 last season (No. 15 in MLB), Toronto would benefit from adding a veteran to a rotation that already features Alek Manoah, Kevin Gausman and Jose Berrios. Verlander could be exactly what the Blue Jays need to help get them over the hump in a loaded AL East.

1. Houston Astros

Of course, a return to the Astros on a short-term deal makes the most sense here. Verlander looked to be nearing the end of his prime back in 2017 when he posted a 3.82 ERA during the first half of the season with the Detroit Tigers. That was when he was traded to Houston and taken under the wing of its coaching staff. In his tenure with the Astros, Verlander has posted a 61-19 record, a 2.26 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP across 102 starts. That is pure dominance. Manager Dusty Baker is back and ready to lead a deep pitching staff to another run at the title. Verlander choosing to rejoin a squad that has made six straight ALCS appearances would not be surprising.

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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.