Astros don’t look to meet the wants of Justin Verlander

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

After arriving on the scene in 2017, it was rumored Justin Verlander didn’t ever want to play for the Houston Astros. Well, the future Hall of Famer picked up his first World Series ring in the end, while signing a short extension a few years later.

On Wednesday, Verlander declined the Astros’ qualifying offer of $18.4 million to continue exploring free agency, per Jeff Passan of ESPN. While the right-hander hasn’t pitched in a major-league game since July 2020, the soon-to-be 39-years-old could be one of the next free agent pitchers off the board.

The Astros are still expressing interest in Verlander, as Bob Nightengale reports, but an East Coast team could be his landing spot. Verlander is reported to want to sign with an East Coast team that trains in Florida, as he owns a home in the southern state.

The Astros might not meet the wants of Justin Verlander, so where will he sign?

After Noah Syndergaard signed for $21 million, more than the qualifying offer, it is safe to say that other pitchers will look to match his contract in free agency. For Syndergaard, he is in a similar boat as that of Verlander, while the right-hander has thrown only two innings over the last two seasons.

There is a big difference here: age. Verlander has had a stronger career than that of Syndergaard, though, but Verlander is nearing 40-years-old, while his last season in 2019 ended with a Cy Young Award.

There are a few different routes Verlander can go in terms of contenders on the East Coast with the New Yankees already expressing interest. The Atlanta Braves and the Boston Red Sox could also be teams calling the right-hander, as they are looking for starters.

The Chicago White Sox have also been reported by Nightengale as a suitor for Verlander, and when you factor in teams looking to compete, the Toronto Blue Jays could be in a similar category.

There was fan speculation that Verlander would return to the Detroit Tigers, but those rumors cooled. If a team like the Angels continues to pick at free agent starters, then Verlander could be another high-risk, high-reward option for the American League West club.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have also been in the mix, but might not also meet all the wants while being a West Coast team, as reported by Jon Heyman.

A few teams are already closing in on Verlander from national reports, but in the end, it would be formidable by the Yankees to land Verlander and even Carlos Correa this winter. Nothing could spark more concern for the postseason, but even if Verlander signed in Toronto with other former Astros, the American League would get much more competitive.

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