While the Astros extended Justin Verlander a qualifying offer, the right-hander drew a crowd at his workout.
Justin Verlander threw about 25 pitches at a pitching showcase for 15 to 2o teams in Florida on Monday, New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported on Twitter. Verlander was reaching velocities between 94 and 97 MPH on his fastball, which has Houston Astros fans will remember is about his average since joining the team back in 2017.
The future Hall of Fame starting pitcher is making his way back from Tommy John surgery that was performed in September of 2020. Verlander, who will turn 39-years-old in February, told Chris Nelsen of the Detroit Free Press back in the Spring of 2019, “I’m taking the proper steps to prepare myself to pitch … hopefully until 45.”
Albeit a small sample, this showcase is encouraging news for Verlander’s recovery and career goals. This showcase is also encouraging for teams who will be looking for veteran starting pitching, while amongst Verlander’s suitors are the Astros.
The Astros have Zack Greinke and Verlander coming off the books. While their young core of pitchers certainly took a big step this year, they will still be in the mix for a seasoned veteran to add to the rotational depth.
Verlander joins Carlos Correa as the only two Houston free agents to receive a qualifying offer. Back in August, I floated the idea of extending Verlander a qualifying offer and what that means exactly.
It’s pretty rare that any free agent accepts a qualifying offer, as it’s often possible to make more money on the open market. With Verlander coming off such a major surgery at his advanced age, makes whether or not he would accept the qualifying offer an interesting talking point.
It’s really hard to gauge the market for Verlander this early in the offseason. There are some big name starting pitchers hitting the market like Robbie Ray, Kevin Gausman, Clayton Kershaw, Marcus Stroman, Carlos Rodón, etc.
In spite of that, it still seems likely that Verlander, despite his age and recent injury, will receive a multi-year offer north of the estimated one year, $18.4 million qualifying offer. He has until the 17th of November to accept the offer.