The Houston Astros tendered a qualifying offer to Justin Verlander to return in 2022, but it appears a return may not be a warm welcome.
Verlander, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, hosted a workout for several Major League Baseball teams. He impressed by reaching the high-90s, and even though he will be 39 years old, the two-time Cy Young Award winner certainly still is a desirable free agent.
One would think it would make sense for Verlander to accept the $18.4 million qualifying offer due to his age, uncertainty of how he will respond in his first season back from surgery and a potential work stoppage looming.
But according to USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale, Astros players probably wouldn’t be too happy if he were to accept.
Check out this excerpt from Nightegale’s report:
Verlander, who received an $18.4 million qualifying offer from the Houston Astros, would normally seem like a lock to take the Astros up on their offer considering he has pitched only six innings since 2019, undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery.
Yet, he also knows it could be a bit uncomfortable returning to Houston. The Astros players revolted when Verlander was scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch during the postseason, telling owner Jim Crane they preferred someone else considering Verlander had not been around all season.
Astros GM James Click, however, backed Verlander, saying it was COVID-19 protocols that prevented Verlander from being around the players.
It’s worth noting that Chris Sale was seen around the Boston Red Sox throughout his Tommy John recovery.
Still, it will be interesting to see what decision Verlander makes and where he ultimately ends up.