MLB Rumors: Age catching up to Justin Verlander with worrisome Astros injury

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander is over 40 years old, but can still make an impact. The only caveat is he needs to stay healthy.

Championship Series - Houston Astros v Texas Rangers - Game Five
Championship Series - Houston Astros v Texas Rangers - Game Five / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

Astros pitcher Justin Verlander may very well be a future Hall of Famer, but for now he hopes to bring one final World Series to Houston. Verlander was acquired last season from the New York Mets at the trade deadline, marking it the second time JV has been sent to Houston via trade.

Verlander last won a Cy Young award in 2022 with the Astros before his brief stint in Queens. He went 7-3 with a 3.31 ERA after the trade deadline in 2023, proving he still has something left to give atop the Houston rotation.

JV's spring isn't off to an ideal start, as it's been delayed due to a mysterious injury.

“When I first started playing catch I usually shut it down for a while and this time when I shut it down and picked a ball back up, my shoulder didn’t feel so great so I kind of had to take a step back,” Verlander said.

Should the Astros be concerned with Justin Verlander's injury?

At some point, father time will catch up to Verlander. However, simply starting spring training a few weeks late isn't a major warning sign just yet.

Verlander has been around long enough to start ramping up on his own timeline. That appears to be the case here, as he'd rather not suffer a devastating blow in what could be his final season. JV isn't as young as he used to be, but he enters the 2024 season as one of the best ace-caliber starters in the American League, and a big reason why Houston could make another World Series run.

Verlander will make over $43 million in 2024, and is the most expensive player on the Astros roster. Houston had a busy offseason, extending the likes of Jose Altuve and signing Josh Hader to a multiyear deal. Hader should add an increased reliance on the Astros bullpen, as he's ready and willing to pitch multiple innings if called upon.

To a starter like Verlander, that's music to his ears. A 162-game season can be a long one, and the Astros should have one of the best bullpens in MLB. That'll give Verlander the opportunity to take more time off, which is beneficial as we inch closer to October.