Justin Verlander reaches 130 innings of pitch, vests 2023 player options

Justin Verlander Tonight the Guardians sprung through the lineup, tossing six innings of an unscored ball. It was another impressive performance for an AL Cy Young award contender in a season full of them, and today’s debut also marked a remarkable contractual development. Verlander reached 130 innings in the season, which means he is officially rooted a $25MM player option For the 2023 campaign.

Verlander is moving toward giving up that option, as he is in a position to easily surpass the $25MM average annual value as a free agent. The nine-time All-Star commanded an equal pay this year on the heels of a season he didn’t pitch as rehab from 2020 Tommy John surgery. In the midst of one of the best seasons of his Hall of Fame career, Verlander is headed for a massive rise. This is especially true as he received and declined a qualifying offer last winter, meaning the Astros cannot offer another Qo next season. Thus a signing club will not lose any draft picks or international signing bonus places this time. Barring an injury or a completely out-of-the-blue collapse over the past few months, he would break the $25MM guarantee on the free agent market.

After tonight’s start, Verlander now carries a major league best 1.73 ERA. His 25.5% strike rate isn’t quite at the elite 35.1% level he posted between 2018-20, but it’s still four points above the MLB average for starters. With a league-best run halted, Verlander’s decline in strikeout is unlikely to have a very significant impact on his value on the open market. This is especially true because his 95 MPH average fastball velocity has remained intact after elbow surgery, and he continues to spin both his fastball and breaking pitch at a high level. Verlander also owns some of the best commands in the game, and the 2011 AL MVP has proven capable of thriving on the biggest stage. His career is 3.40 ERA in the post-season 187 2/3 innings, and he will have the opportunity to start again with Houston this October.

Verlander’s exceptional track record establishes one of the more lucrative free agent cases of the upcoming off-season. He has clearly reinvented himself as one of the game’s best pitchers, the kind of ace clubs would delight in the opening game of the playoff series. A new deal would begin with his campaign aged 40, however, he would be set up for a short-term contract with a massive annual salary.

there is a clear comparison point record-setting contract made by your ex Max Scherzer last winter. The three-time Cy Young winner signed a three-year, $130MM deal with the Mets. This earned Scherzer’s $43.333MM . wiped out the previous all-time high annual salary with annual payment An increase in the annual salary of any previous contract by more than $7MM. Scherzer was coming off a 179 1/3 innings, 2.46 ERA campaign in which he knocked out 34.1% of opponents between the Nationals and the Dodgers. That better swing-and-miss stuff may point in Scherzer’s favor, but Verlander and his reps at ISE Baseball may try to top that AAV record—especially if he holds a sub-2.00 ERA all year. Even if that doesn’t quite hit Scherzer’s heights, beating the $36MM annual salary, which is second to all-time for Verlander, seems attainable.

It will be equally interesting to see the length of the contract that Verlander gets. Scherzer’s deal began with her campaign age of 37 and took her to the current age of 39, Verlander. With Verlander still at the top of his game, a multi-year deal is likely. Whether a team goes for three years and signs him at the age of 42 remains to be seen.

There are few high-end weapons in the upcoming starting pitching market, though most have injury or age concerns. with Joe Musgrove agree to one five year extension To live in his hometown of San Diego, players prefer jacob degrom, Carlos Rodone And Verlander appears to be the most disruptive in the market (assuming all three trigger opt-out clauses in their contracts).

Nathan Iovaldick And Chris Bassito Are starting out above-average but each is already in their mid-30s. Noah Syndergaard Looks like a solid mid-rotation arm, but not as hard or missing as it did with the Mets at its peak. Sean Manea There’s a tremendous 4.24 epoch on the year, though he’s generally a solid mid-rotation type. mike clevinger Will enter his age-32 season and missed all of last year’s rehab from Tommy John surgery. Zach Eflin Has one of the smaller arms available and is generally solid when healthy, but he has dealt with repeated knee injuries throughout his career that have resurfaced this season. Clayton Kershaw Last winter limited its market with geographic restrictions. This is a section that will not lack star power, but there is also uncertainty with most of the experienced bowlers who will be there.

Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.

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