Justin Verlander Re-Signs With the Astros: Four Thoughts

Justin Verlander will be back with the Astros in 2022.
Photo by Jack Gorman
Justin Verlander will be back with the Astros in 2022.
On Wednesday, Justin Verlander agreed to a one-year, $25 million deal to return the Astros in 2022. The deal includes a player option for 2023. Verlander, the team's ace since he was acquired from the Detroit Tigers at the deadline in 2017, missed all but one game in 2020 and all of 2021 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

Despite missing two seasons, albeit one shortened due to COVID-19, recent reports have noted that Verlander appears poised for a return hitting the upper 90s with his fastball in workouts. The signing came as a surprise to many after Verlander rejected the team's qualifying offer earlier on Wednesday, but it turned out to be simply a precursor to his re-signing.

If Verlander does indeed return to form...

There are no guarantees, especially at 38 years old and coming off 18 months of rehab from surgery, but Verlander has been a very, very tough pitcher throughout his career. He says he wants to play into his 40s and he seems to be the type of player who could make that happen. He is one of those rare pitchers who can go deep into games and even seems to get stronger over time. Hopefully, that will apply to full seasons and not just nine innings.

But, don't expect 200-plus innings in 2022.

If the Astros are smart, they will limit JV's innings, if for no other reason than their desperate need for quality starters in the postseason. Verlander will need to accept that, at least in 2022, he will need to take a little extra time off to keep himself ready for deep playoff runs. Fortunately, the Astros are deep enough in the rotation that they can give him plenty of time off when it is needed.

Verlander's presence great for young pitchers.

Speaking of those young arms, the more time they have around the veteran, eventual Hall of Famer, the better. He may not be with the team to be a coach, but just his presence should be great for the young pitchers trying to gain experience. His work ethic alone and ability to keep himself in shape in his late 30s is worth the cost of his contract.

Signing the ace means no need to find another starter in free agency.

The Astros had two holes in their roster going into the Hot Stove league, starting pitcher and shortstop. They filled one of those spots with their own player. It is unlikely they will be able to do that with Carlos Correa as well, but at least bringing Verlander back means they can focus on what they need to do on the infield. With a lockout looming, this takes the pressure off GM James Click and the front office.