For the second straight offseason, the New York Yankees will almost definitely be in attendance for a former superstar pitcher’s showcase at Eric Cressey’s Sports Performance, following an empty year for said hurler.
Last time, their connection with Cressey — who serves as the Yankees’ Director of Player Health and Performance — led them on the inside track towards signing the player, who demanded an $11 million commitment. They happily obliged.
This time? Look, we know nothing. We’re just laying out the concurrent paths taken by both Corey Kluber and Justin Verlander.
Which world-class ace has more left in the tank at this very moment is anyone’s guess, but we’d bank on the guy with the heater. He’ll also cost more.
Verlander, with $18.4 million worth of Astros money already on the table for 2022 only, tossed for interested teams on Monday morning, but presumably won’t stop here. He’s going to do another showcase or two in the weeks to come to reestablish himself as a postseason horse.
We’d bet that one-year deal is getting turned down. We’d also bet on the Yankees relying on their inside man to suss out the details of a longer-term pact.
Will Eric Cressey’s Yankees chase Justin Verlander?
Bottom line, whoever signs Verlander will likely be getting a less risky commodity than Kluber at double the price.
The New York Post just projected JV will go to the Yankees and reunite with Gerrit Cole atop the rotation, and it’ll cost them a cool $20 million.
That’s certainly a George Steinbrenner move, for better or worse. It’s also a championship move, built for both May and October. If Verlander is able to maintain his stuff and be the “same old guy” — for instance, if he can keep hiking that velocity in the later innings, as he’s known for — he’ll be a steal in any season.
Clearly, the Yankees thought they had enough firepower that they could keep Kluber under wraps and only unveil him once they were already in the ALCS. Instead, it turned out they didn’t have quite as much healthy pitching as anticipated, and Kluber emptied the tank on the field in Dallas in the middle of May.
Verlander? He’s got to be a horse all year long for this to make sense. And it’s also easy to forget he only has a single ring (2017?), and has traditionally struggled in the World Series after dominating the opening rounds (winless in four tries, ERAs of 5.73, 11.25, 3.75, 5.73).
We’ve had late-30s fireballers suddenly joining the Yankees before. We’ve seen it, though it was really more of a dynasty move than a modern maneuver.
Will it work? Hunch says it’s more likely Verlander’s another one of those guys who succeeds elsewhere and underwhelms here. But Eric Cressey could end up making the final call yet again.