Justin Verlander very well could be on his way to the American League East in 2022. Where he makes his home, however, is still up in the air.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner is a free agent this offseason, and the New York Post reported Tuesday there are multiple AL East teams showing interest.
“Word is the teams that were in on (Noah) Syndergaard also have interest in Verlander,” the Post’s Joel Sherman wrote. “That includes three AL East clubs — the Yankees, Blue Jays and Red Sox. Toronto and Boston made aggressive offers for Syndergaard. It is not known publicly if the Yanks did.”
Verlander, who will be 39 in February, has made just one start since the start of the 2020 season. The right-hander missed most of the 2020 campaign and then had Tommy John surgery in October of 2020 and missed the entire 2021 season. He was very good in 2019, though, winning the AL Cy Young with Houston, going 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA while striking out 300 in an MLB-best 223 innings pitched.
As Sherman notes, the Yankees “seem more serious” about Verlander than Syndergaard, and they do have connections both in the training staff and on the roster, as Verlander was teammates with New York ace Gerrit Cole.
As for the cost to sign Verlander, that obviously remains the big question mark. Syndergaard, who is 10 years younger than Verlander, but not as established, just agreed to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels worth a reported $21 million. MLB Trade Rumors in its annual free agent predictions column forecasted Verlander landing a two-year, $40 million pact, the same financial agreement predicted by The Athletic. And, for what it’s worth, the Post predicted Verlander would land a one-year, $20 million deal with … the Yankees.