Who could have a potential Johnson like impact in 2017?
The problem is that there is not a Randy Johnson on the market this year. You have the usual suspects in Jose Quintana, Gerrit Cole, or Sonny Gray. As I wrote yesterday, they are all pitching better as the deadline approaches. More names can pop up as teams drop out.
One team that is close to having a fire sale are the Tigers. According to Evan Woodbery, the Tigers are listening to trade offers. However, they will not push trades of any of their veterans. Two Tigers players have full no-trade rights as well as hefty contracts. Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander are those two, but the Astros should have little interest in Miggy. The Astros don’t need hitting.
That leaves Verlander with his $28 million dollars per year salary until 2019 with a vesting option for 2020. According to Jon Heyman, “one rival GM suggested he doubts anyone would pay Verlander’s full salary.” Heyman suggests that there are a handful of teams who would trade for Verlander. The Astros would be one.
Do the Astros need the 34-year-old Verlander? Let’s look at Johnson’s stats prior to 1998 to see how they compare. Johnson had a 124-68 record at the time with a 3.37 ERA with 2,000 strikeouts in 1,734 innings pitched.
Verlander had a career 173-106 record before this year with 2,197 strikeouts in 2,339 innings. Verlander was 22 when he made his debut compared to Johnson’s debut at 24, which explains the innings difference.