And now, for the New York Yankees’ third Justin Verlander-related trick in five years, they’ll briefly entertain his demands before realizing his initial ask is absolutely insane!
The first two versions of the Verlander-Yankees song and dance were inarguably better, even though it seemed like the third time might be the charm just a few days ago, following the Astros ace’s first ever win in a World Series start.
The first time the two sides were connected in 2017, Hal Steinbrenner balked at absorbing Verlander’s contract and allowed the Astros, not yet a rival, to take him instead. It turned out spectacularly poorly; Verlander, as well as Charlie Morton/Lance McCullers Jr.’s curveballs ended up being the clear difference between the two rosters.
The lambada began anew last offseason, when pre-lockout rumors actually had the Yankees as the favorites for Verlander’s services. The team made a sizable one-year offer, but the Astros made a bigger one, allowing Ben Verlander to announce loudly and proudly that his brother (!!!) was staying home.
That brings us to 2023, when Verlander will be 40 years old … BUT … big “but” … also coming off a Cy Young season following elbow surgery, something he’s unlikely to undergo again. A big one-year offer — or even an inflated two-year offer — felt reasonable for teams like the Yankees, Mets and Dodgers, if the right-hander was actually ready to leave the roost this time.
Can I interest you in a match of the Max Scherzer three-year contract that’ll take Verlander through age 42 and tie him to your payroll for nearly $44 million annually through 2025, though? Nope! Enjoy LA!
Justin Verlander Contract Rumors: Yankees want to pay Max Scherzer money to a 42-year-old?
Now, this Verlander contract rumor comes directly from the mouth of Jim Crane, who’s taken over operations in Houston after firing GM James Click, while opening the door ever so slightly for the Yankees to make inroads on their dominance. Obviously, his interests are served by communicating a boffo contract ask that scares off other teams and leaves the Astros alone in Verlander’s market.
However … the source doesn’t change this article’s thesis. Perhaps those aren’t Verlander’s demands! Maybe, for whatever reason, he’s finally ready to leave Houston for much less of a guarantee.
But if Verlander is trying to match Scherzer, who was entering his age-38 season with a balky oblique and arm fatigue at the time, the Yankees should reserve their budget for other options.
Both Scherzer and Verlander have made sense for the Yankees at different times — Scherzer after the 2014 season, and Verlander during the stretch run of 2017. Both would currently fit the team as hired guns, but not at their current prices.