3 scary free agents Red Sox should avoid signing this offseason
Red Sox shouldn’t bet on Verlander returning to form
Justin Verlander has been one of the game’s most dominant pitchers over the last decade and a half. He’s an eight-time All-Star, a Triple Crown winner and a former MVP. The last time we saw a healthy Verlander for a full season was in 2019 when he captured his second career Cy Young award.
The concern with Verlander is that we haven’t seen him healthy in almost two years. The right-hander made only one start in 2020 before undergoing Tommy John surgery that kept him sidelined through this season.
The Red Sox saw Chris Sale battle inconsistency as he struggled to regain his previous form when he returned from this surgery. The progress he made is an encouraging sign that he’ll be closer to his old self next season but his return to the mound could hardly be considered smooth sailing.
Verlander will be 39 years old next season. How many years does he have left in the tank? He might need to settle for a one-year deal, which could potentially be the last of his magnificent career.
If the Houston Astros extend a qualifying offer to him, surrendering a draft pick for only one year of Verlander isn’t worthwhile for the Red Sox.
Even on a short-term deal, Verlander won’t be cheap. It would be tempting to gamble on his upside if it were an incentive laden deal or one with a vesting option that keeps him under team control through 2023 if he has a successful return next season. If he’s healthy, Verlander isn’t likely to settle for a team-friendly deal and there should be enough interested suitors that he won’t need to.