If Justin Verlander leaves the Houston Astros in free agency, it may be for the New York Yankees.
The eight-time AL All-Star and two-time AL Cy Young winner has been with the Houston Astros since being traded over from the Detroit Tigers midseason in 2017. While Verlander made his two most recent trips to the Midsummer Classic in Houston uniform, he is not expected to be back on a new contract. The soon-to-be 39-year-old did receive a qualifying offer from the Astros, though.
If Verlander were to sign with the Astros, he would reunite with his former Houston teammate Gerrit Cole in the New York rotation.
Justin Verlander free agency rumors: Yankees are the favorite to sign RHP
Given that Verlander has been out for the bulk of two big-league seasons after having undergone Tommy John surgery, it remains to be seen what he can provide a big-league rotation. One reason why Houston was unable to win the 2021 World Series over the Atlanta Braves was its underwhelming starting pitching. Then again, Verlander has rarely been stellar in the Fall Classic.
As for the Yankees being interested in him, that makes sense because New York has not won the AL pennant in well over a decade now. The last time the Yankees won the American League, Verlander was in his prime in his mid-20s as the face of the Tigers franchise. Simply put, New York is not winning the AL in 2022 if the starting rotation continues to be an issue for them once again.
Few teams in baseball are as capable of throwing money around to over-the-hill veterans like Verlander quite like the Yankees can.