The Boston Red Sox had an exciting 2021 season, and it resulted in a trip to the ALCS.
Unfortunately, the team’s title hopes fell short, but the Red Sox proved to the baseball world that they’re already contenders again.
Boston will hope to take another step forward in 2022, but in order for that to happen, the organization is going to have to get busy this winter.
Well, it sounds like that’s already happening.
The Red Sox were reportedly one of many teams in attendance at a Justin Verlander workout earlier this week.
Red Sox were represented at the workout by Justin Verlander in Florida earlier today. Somewhere between 15-20 MLB teams on hand. Verlander is coming off TJ and has pitched just once since 2019, but reports are that he looked impressive.
— Sean McAdam (@Sean_McAdam) November 8, 2021
Verlander didn’t pitch in 2021 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
This offseason, he’s a free agent.
Could the Red Sox target him?
The Red Sox Could Use A Rotation Arm, And Verlander Could Be The Solution
Boston’s starting rotation was serviceable in 2021, but it certainly wasn’t elite.
The staff posted an ERA of 4.49 in the regular season.
Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Nick Pivetta headline the possible group of starters that the Red Sox will take into 2022 (pending a deal with Rodriguez), with Tanner Houck in the mix as well.
Thing is, it seems like the organization feels that Houck isn’t ready to be a starter yet.
The youngster, who has made just 16 starts at the MLB level, has had a hard time pitching deep into games, and until that changes, it seems like Boston would rather use him as a long-innings reliever.
With that being the case, it would make sense for the team to acquire a starter this offseason.
Verlander would be a very intriguing addition.
The Red Sox were one of 20 teams who watched Justin Verlander throw today in Florida
According to @bradfo, Verlander topped out at 97 mph during the session, consistently throwing his fastball in the mid-90's. Verlander threw about 25 pitches.
— Beyond the Monster: Boston Red Sox (@BeyondtheMnstr) November 9, 2021
Sure, there are some unknowns.
He’s already 38 years old, and he just underwent a major surgery.
But given his track record, isn’t he worth rolling the dice on?
Let’s take a look.
Verlander’s Track Record
Verlander has 16 years of MLB experience under his belt, and he has a long list of accolades to show for it.
He has earned the following:
- 8 All-Star selections
- 2 Cy Young awards
- MVP award
- ERA title
He has also led the league in wins three times, strikeouts five times, WHIP four times, and ERA+ twice.
It would be easy to say that those days are behind him, but do we know that for sure?
The last time we saw Verlander pitch a full season was in 2019, as he made just one start in 2020 before being shut down.
In that 2019 campaign, he had one of the best seasons of his career.
He went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA, 3.27 FIP, and 0.80 WHIP.
The future Hall of Famer also racked up 300 strikeouts, which is a massive accomplishment for any pitcher.
Justin Verlander freezing Freddie Freeman with a nasty slider. pic.twitter.com/NKoq2pfW9J
— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) July 10, 2019
When all was said and done, he took home Cy Young honors that year.
That really wasn’t too long ago.
Given his age and surgery, regression is expected, but it seems very reasonable to expect Verlander to be a solid starting pitcher in 2022.
He’ll surely land somewhere, but the Red Sox seem like a really interesting possibility.
We’ll have to wait and see which originations emerge as the frontrunners for his services.