If you look at your closest calendar, it might say that it’s November 8th with a long offseason ahead. Nonetheless, the Yankees are already in the rumor mill.
The latest news is that Yankees scouts were in attendance on Monday afternoon at Justin Verlander’s showcase. Other teams included the Blue Jays, Orioles, and the former MVP’s original team, the Tigers. Per Joel Sherman, he threw 25 pitches and clocked in at about 94-97 mph.
This scuttlebutt connecting New York and Verlander shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone, though. As the Corey Kluber Experiment last year indicated, even with mixed results, the team likes its reclamation projects, especially when they’re closely connected to Eric Cressey, the director of player health and performance. Sure enough, the workout took place right in their backyard at Cressey’s own complex.
Verlander is working his way back from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent in October 2020. Assuming his recovery goes well, he should be ready to return in 2022, but it is a bit unusual for a player as old as Verlander to seriously roll the dice on a comeback from TJS. There are no guarantees that the soon-to-be 39-year-old returns to form, but it’s tempting to consider, even with the whispers of sticky stuff.
The eight-time All-Star won his second Cy Young Award in 2019 with the Astros, all while striking out 300 batters and looking just as filthy as he ever did in Detroit. Verlander’s always been a thorn in the Yankees’ side in the postseason in particular, beating them multiple times in the Division Series as a Tiger before winning ALCS MVP honors during the devastating 2017 defeat at Houston’s hands.
Verlander is also still mulling the one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer made by the Astros to him at the start of free agency. If he declines it, then his offseason gets more interesting and whichever team signs him will have to forfeit a draft pick. If he accepts it, well, then that’s the end of this Yankees rumor.
Could you see stomach seeing Verlander in pinstripes? Or is it too much of a risk that the team should avoid?