The Major League Baseball hot stove is boiling.
The MLB starting pitching free agent market is starting to turn heads. First, Eduardo Rodríguez opted to leave the Boston Red Sox and join the Detroit Tigers. Now, Justin Verlander officially has decided to re-sign with the Houston Astros on a one-year deal, a $25 million deal. Noah Syndergaard and José Berríos both also have inked lucrative deals of their own.
Rodríguez and Verlander both were tied to the Red Sox in various capacities as the team looked to strengthen their starting rotation. Although Boston wasn’t able to nab either, there still are plenty of options out there for the Red Sox.
Max Scherzer arguably is the biggest fish on the market. Boston reportedly at least checked in with the Washington Nationals on a potential deal before Scherzer was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers so there may still be some lingering interest there.
After Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Rodón and Alex Wood could all be viable options for Boston as they try to determine their rotation after Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi and Nick Pivetta.
American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray, Kevin Gausman, Zack Greinke and Marcus Stroman also are all free agents and could be worth a second look.
Boston also could insert Tanner Houck and Garrett Whitlock into the rotation if they wanted to build from within and also save a little bit of cash in the process.
Maybe even a hybrid of these two scenarios could take place. The Red Sox could nab one of these big names still on the board and then toss one of their young guys on the back end of the rotation.
All in all, Verlander re-signing with Houston isn’t the end of the world and potentially could even be a good thing.