Aren’t you glad that’s over? We sure are. Why? Because Yankees fans shouldn’t have been forced to want him on their team this offseason. It just so happened he was the best ace-like option available. And you have to strike when the talent is there. Emotional attachment be damned.
But what other reason would you want him other than “getting better”? He’s kind of an annoying personality (he’s made headlines for some really bizarre comments/behavior in the past); his brother, Ben, built his entire persona on hating the Yankees and is essentially the Jared Carrabis of Fox Sports; and the idea of poaching more and more Astros players just to … beat the Astros was starting to feel unsettling. Cole was one. Carlos Correa is starting to feel more and more real. Couldn’t possibly have all three of these guys. Two even feels like a lot.
Don’t get us wrong, we’d take Verlander tomorrow. Would we enjoy it? We’d certainly have to get used to it. The Yankees have signed plenty of enemies before. This isn’t anything new. Sometimes, though, it feels good to maintain the contempt with the opposing party and pass on making a deal with the devil.
Most importantly, however, to gamble big again on an aging pitcher (who had thrown just six innings since the start of 2020) returning from a serious injury was a risk many couldn’t have felt that comfortable with. Yes, it’s Justin Verlander. Yes, he’s a Hall of Famer. But that doesn’t mean he’s immune to fatigue and/or setbacks following Tommy John surgery.
Do we have the answer for the gap(s) in the rotation? No. But now they can focus their efforts elsewhere, especially since starting pitching is hardly their primary need — even Brian Cashman said shortstop and center field are more important!
Justin Verlander won’t be a Yankee and that’s actually a blessing in disguise.
Verlander would’ve been a risky luxury, which is not the kind of spending that needs to be made after two straight disheartening campaigns. We’re not shopping to feel better about ourselves, here. We’ve got to right the ship. Remember last year when they spent half of their allotted remaining money on Corey Kluber in hopes of the right-hander orchestrating a bounce-back to take them deep into the playoffs? They got cocky, expected the rest of the team to operate without a hitch, and got burned.
Also, let the Astros pay $25 million for one gigantic question mark of a season. We have NO idea how Verlander is going to perform across a 162-game slate after his extended absence as he enters his age-39 season. That’s probably why the rumors suggested New York was eyeing a two-year contract.
And, in case you needed any more convincing he was never right for pinstripes, a report from MLB insider Jon Heyman suggests Verlander felt a “loyalty” to the Astros and owner Jim Crane. Really? The same Astros that “revolted” when the team wanted you to throw out a first pitch before a playoff series? The same owner that oversaw the arrogant circus following the 2017 cheating scandal? The same owner that is letting arguably the team’s most important player to leave in free agency this offseason?
If that’s where your “loyalty” lies, then great. It tells us all we need to know. Who were we kidding? We thought Verlander would survive in NEW YORK CITY when had a Tigers beat writer banned from the Astros’ clubhouse because something was written about him that he didn’t like?
He would’ve been trying to crowdsource his own money within a month of his time here to fund a rival paper to battle the tabloids after Phil Mushnick’s first scathing column. Trust us, it’s better this way … especially because he’s not on the Red Sox or Blue Jays. Whew, that really makes all the difference.