However, he is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery performed in September, and while there is a slight chance he returns for the final month of the season, the smart money is on him missing the whole 2021 campaign.
He is 38 years old, but is reportedly thinking about pitching in the 2022 season.
He is still a supremely talented pitcher who won the 2019 Cy Young award in the American League.
It remains to be seen how he recovers from the surgery, but he still has the desire and the talent to pitch a bit more.
Having said that, he currently doesn’t have a team for the 2022 season.
His contract with the Astros will finalize after 2021, at which point he will be able to sign with whichever team he likes.
So where could he end up next year?
3. Houston Astros
The Astros traded for Verlander in 2017, and since that point, he has had two amazing seasons in Texas (2018 and 2019), with five starts in 2017 and one in 2020 sprinkled in.
Houston helped Verlander recover his best form by adopting a fastball-heavy approach, taking advantage of his spin rate and using the top of the zone to get whiffs.
We know by now that Verlander and the Astros are highly compatible and good for each other.
Because of those reasons, the Astros are the favorites to get Verlander to re-sign when the offseason kicks in.
Houston will have some money available because Zack Greinke, who is earning $32 million this season, is also scheduled to hit free agency this fall.
I suspect this is just a general update on how his rehab is going. That said, I do think people are underrating the chance of him returning in 2022. Astros have a lot of SP money rolling off between Verlander and Greinke, wouldn’t be a surprise if they keep one on a short deal. https://t.co/9LyFgCPBax
— Ben DuBose (@BenDuBose) May 7, 2021
Lance McCullers, Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia, Jose Urquidy, and Jake Odorizzi are all good enough to be a part of the Astros’ rotation in 2022, but a healthy and effective Verlander is better than all of them.
2. New York Mets
The New York Mets have the wealthiest owner in MLB, and that owner, Steve Cohen, also happens to be a lifelong fan.
Add it all up and it means he is capable of paying top dollar to the best players to lure them to the Big Apple.
If Verlander proves he is healthy as the time 2022 spring training nears, you can bet that the Mets will be interested.
That would be tough to navigate, that’s for sure.
Don’t count Cohen and the Mets out of the Verlander sweepstakes.
They missed out on Trevor Bauer this year, they won’t want to experience something similar.
1. Detroit Tigers
From a competitive cycle standpoint, the Detroit Tigers make little sense because they are still a year or two away from contention.
But if Verlander decides to go back to where it all started, then we can’t dismiss the Tigers.
Fans would certainly love the idea.
Verlander is a Tiger in 2022 😊
— . (@HinchInnocent) May 8, 2021
The Tigers drafted Verlander in 2004 and he spent 13 years there, until 2017.
He made a name and a career with the Tigers, and even went to a couple of World Series.
Another option could be signing Verlander to a two-year deal with the idea of contending for a playoff spot in 2023.
In any case, Detroit isn’t his likeliest destination.