Astros Almost Lost Justin Verlander in Free Agency to AL East Team

Larry Rupp
The Houston Astros almost lost Justin Verlander in free agency to an AL East team.
The Houston Astros almost lost Justin Verlander in free agency to an AL East team. / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Astros were able to lock down pitcher Justin Verlander on a two-year deal this past offseason, but not before the eight-time All-Star tested out the free agent waters. Verlander almost landed with the Toronto Blue Jays thanks to a recruitment led by former teammate George Springer.

Toronto Blue Jays News

Verlander has long been adamant that Toronto is one of his favorite road cities and had a ton of conversations with Springer about the Blue Jays team. The 39-year-old was fond of how the front office retooled the lineup and was ready to take his carer in a new direction before the Astros paid up.

“He had just asked me what’s it about? How is it? How do I like it? He wanted me to give him my perspective, just because I’d known him for four or five years."

George Springer on Justin Verlander

Blue Jays fans can't help but feel like Verlander was the one that got away here. He has bounced back in a big way after missing the 2021 season due to Tommy John surgery, posting a 1.94 ERA across 12 starts. Verlander also leads the league with a 0.81 WHIP and has logged 78 strikeouts in 78.2 innings.

As for the Blue Jays, they lost starter Hyun-Jin Ryu to a season-ending injury and have seen mixed results from the rest of the rotation. Toronto currently owns a 3.87 team ERA (T-No. 14 in MLB) and has seen free agent signing Yusei Kikuchi struggle to keep runs from scoring all year (4.80 ERA).

Both the Blue Jays and Astros are set up well for playoff contention, so it'll be interesting to see if the two squads meet in the postseason. For now, Houston has odds set at +700 to win the world Series, while Toronto checks in with odds set at +1100, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

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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.