Red Sox Free Agency: Boston would be foolish to sign Justin Verlander

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 08: Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros in action against the New York Mets during a spring training baseball game at Clover Park on March 8, 2020 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The Mets defeated the Astros 3-1. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 08: Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros in action against the New York Mets during a spring training baseball game at Clover Park on March 8, 2020 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The Mets defeated the Astros 3-1. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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The Red Sox may have interest in Justin Verlander

Free agency is open and while teams may not start swooping players up off the market anytime soon, the rumor mill will absolutely begin to turn. One of the bigger fish in the ocean this winter will be a veteran righty, Justin Verlander. Despite not pitching at all in 2021 due to Tommy John, teams will still have interest in him, including the Red Sox.

The New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported that anywhere from 15-20 teams had representatives in attendance to see the righty throw in his workout. Sherman would go on to say that Verlander was able to throw in the 94-97mph range and tossed 25 pitches for the scouts. I’m not surprised to hear that so many were in attendance, and with Boston needing pitching help, that doesn’t shock me either.

However, there are so many factors that make it feel like an absolute mistake for the Red Sox to go after Verlander this offseason. The right-hander will be turning 39 as spring training is getting underway and considering he is coming off of TJS, that’s a massive red flag for me. We already have an expensive starter that just made his return from TJS in Chris Sale, I don’t really need another. That’s just an unnecessary level of added stress on an already stressful pitching staff.

While he may have looked great in his workout, playing in real games is an entirely different animal, again, ask Sale. Beyond the age and the TJS recovery, we have to look at his salary. The Astros extended him the Qualifying Offer of $18.4M which is a pretty hefty paycheck for most, but not Verlander. The former Cy Young winner has raked in $33M the last two seasons and that is without a doubt well beyond Boston’s budget.

Chaim Bloom spoke at the GM Meetings about having a presence at Verlander’s workout and the CBO was a bit more open-minded, though he could just be playing the free agency game.

"“Age might affect the term (number of years) you consider, but if the present ability is there then why wouldn’t you be interested?” Bloom said here at the GM Meetings. “We’ve seen it time and again. There’s a lot of guys who are up there in years that can still perform at a really high level.”"

As I said, Chaim could just be floating that out there to try and pique some interest in Verlander and set off a bidding war to hinder the competition financially. I’ll never tell anyone how to run their career but I’d have a hard time walking away from just over $18M when I haven’t worked for a year.

I just find it hard to believe that a team will offer him the salary that he’s used to with his age and health playing massive factors. It may be best for Verlander to take the QO, have a killer 2022, and then secure that bag one final time.

Verlander’s last full season came in 2019 where he was an absolute beast. He went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA, 3.27 FIP, and 0.803 WHIP. He would lead all of MLB in wins, WHIP, Games Started (34), Innings (223), and H/9 (5.5). Oh yeah, he was also an All-Star and won himself a Cy-Young Award that year, a pretty damn good season.

The Red Sox came within two games of the World Series and it was Verlander’s Astros that ended that Cinderella ride. Of course, having a pitcher the caliber of JV on the team would be a no-brainer I just think it would be foolish of Chaim to offer him a deal that would end up costing Boston in the long run. When you put his age, health, and salary into the equation it just doesn’t add up for the Sox, and they should stay far away.

Next. Bringing Vázquez back was the right move. dark