That’s because the veteran underwent Tommy John surgery last fall.
Anytime a pitcher undergoes Tommy John surgery, it raises some questions marks about the player’s future, and that’s especially true in Verlander’s case.
Given his age (38), no one really knows how the eight-time All-Star is going to bounce back after surgery.
But the Astros recently made it very clear how they feel about the matter.
Houston expressed tons of confidence in Verlander earlier this week by inking him to a new deal.
The contract includes a pretty attractive salary, too.
Right-hander Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros are in agreement on a one-year, $25 million deal that includes a player option for a second season, sources tell ESPN.@BenVerlander had the deal first because of course he did.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 17, 2021
It’s pretty obvious that the Astros believe Verlander will still be an elite arm even after his surgery.
The former MVP will hope to prove the team right in 2022.
Verlander and the Astros organization have already won a World Series title during their time together, but it’s clear that the two sides want another.
Moreover, Verlander certainly wants to prove that he still has something left in the tank.
The last time we saw him, he was still one of the league’s best pitchers.
In fact, he was quite literally the league’s best pitcher in 2019, as he took home AL Cy Young honors.
As a member of the Astros, Verlander has a 2.45 ERA, 3.04 FIP, and 0.83 WHIP across 74 starts.
That’s a pretty big sample size, and those are some very impressive results.
No wonder Houston was willing to ink him to a lucrative deal.
Justin Verlander, Filthy 86mph Slider…and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/CW4M3oI3XP
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 24, 2019
It remains to be seen what type of pitcher Verlander will be when he returns, but he’s definitely hoping to add to his stacked list of accomplishments.
The future Hall of Famer has earned eight All-Star selections, two Cy Young awards, an MVP award, and an ERA title throughout his lengthy career.
Time will tell if he’s able to add to that list in 2022.
Teams Aren’t Hesitating To Roll The Dice On Risky Pitchers This Offseason
So far this offseason, MLB clubs are acting fast in the free-agent market for pitchers.
Interestingly, teams are showing a willingness to take gambles on guys who are wild cards.
Verlander is obviously somewhat of a mystery entering 2022, but the list doesn’t stop there.
Noah Syndergaard, who’s also coming off of Tommy John surgery, already earned a handsome deal with the Los Angeles Angels.
BREAKING: Right-hander Noah Syndergaard and the Los Angeles Angels are in agreement on a one-year, $21 million deal, pending physical, sources tell ESPN.
The Angels bolster their staff with the highest-upside arm on the market — and pay a heavy price, plus a second-rounder.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 16, 2021
Then there’s Andrew Heaney, who just signed a one-year deal worth $8.5 million with the Los Angeles Dodgers despite the fact that he posted a 5.83 ERA in 2021.
Left-hander Andrew Heaney is in agreement with the Los Angeles Dodgers on a one-year, $8.5 million contract, a source familiar with the deal tells ESPN. Dodgers place a bet that Heaney, 30, can take a leap and jump the market after his rough 2021. @Ken_Rosenthal had a deal first.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 8, 2021
The bottom line is that organizations are recognizing the fact that the starting pitching market is going to be crazy this winter.
As a result, teams are taking extreme measures and being aggressive in signing their targets.
To state the obvious, that’s good news for pitchers who are hoping to land big deals this winter, and it has worked out nicely for all of the guys we just talked about.