England is up 5-1 on Iran at the moment, and all is right with the world (other than I’m up way too early in the morning.
We have used this idea for the last couple of years. The idea is to go through some of the top free agents, using the contract FanGraphs suggests and have a poll to see if we would sign him for that amount.
We come to Justin Verlander.
Ben Clemens has Verlander number 5 on his top 50 free agent list, Keith Law has him further down in the number 13 spot.
The Jays had some interest in Verlander last year. I’d imagine they will at least kick the tires again this year. Winning the Cy Young after missing all of 2021 and all but one game of 2020 at 39 is quite the achievement. Make you wonder what he’ll do as an encore at age 40.
I don’t know that I would have signed a guy coming off of Tommy John at age 39. But the question this year is do you sign him at 40?
Keith Law said:
Verlander returned this season from Tommy John surgery, the first significant injury of his career, and his stuff was almost as good as before; his velocity was intact, although his spin rates and thus movement was down slightly across the board, from elite to just really good. The unbelievable part of his season, which might win him his third Cy Young Award, is that he posted the lowest walk rate of his career. He reinvented himself, at least in part, while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, at an age when most pitchers have long since hung them up. Verlander has said he wants to chase 300 wins, and who can blame him? At 244, he’s at least got enough of a chance to try it. He might get multi-year offers, but if that’s his goal, he should look for a series of one-year deals to try to pitch for teams most likely to give him a ton of run support.
300 wins is four years away at best?
Verlander has stated that he wants to pitch until age 45, but I don’t think he’ll get there on one contract. In fact, he might go a similar route to last year at a higher dollar value; a short-term deal that he can make even shorter if he pitches a full year. He could also set a new precedent with a novel contract structure, perhaps with some kind of escalating or performance-based options. This is uncharted territory; you can’t find a comp for a 40-year-old pitcher with surgery in his recent past but also a 1.75 ERA in his most recent season.
I remember Jose Bautista saying he wanted to play into his 40s. But I’m sure you can place a bet on whether Justin makes it to age 45 in the majors. And I’d imagine it isn’t all that far off a 50/50 bet. Nolan Ryan threw his last pitch at age 47, but then he didn’t have reconstructive surgery at age 37.
Ben figures Justin will get a two-year contract at $40 million per year, for $80 million total. Nice work if you can get it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets two plus an option year.
Verlander averaged 95.1 MLB on his fastball this year, a tick up from his career average of 94.9. But, as stated above, his spin rates were down a bit. But then he was coming back from Tommy John, a year further away, the spin rates might come back.
No pitcher is a sure thing, I don’t know that Verlander isn’t as sure a thing as any other pitcher on the free agent list. I’m sure he would bring all the usual veteran presents.
Should the Jays sign Justin Verlander if the price is $40 million a year for 2 years?
This poll is closed
Probably, but I’m not enthusiastic about it
Probably no, but I wouldn’t hate it
No, absolutely not