Justin Verlander didn't sign with the Yankees, but he certainly had a lucrative deal on the table to play in New York.
The Yankees reportedly offered Verlander a one-year, $25 million deal, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner elected to return to Houston, however, agreeing to terms with the Astros on a similar contract, but one that included a player option for a second year and another $25 million.
Verlander is damaged goods, but his upside is that of an ace. The right-hander hasn't pitched since July of 2020, undergoing Tommy John surgery a few months later and missing all of the 2021 season.
New York sent a scout to watch Verlander throw a bullpen earlier this offseason, a showcase that proved to teams the right-hander still has some gas left in the tank. Even entering his 17th big-league season, the 38-year-old can still perform at the top of a rotation if he's healthy.
If New York, Houston and more were willing to pay this much money for a player entering his age-39 season, you have to believe he's ready to distance himself from elbow surgery and produce once again. After all, his last full season resulted in a Cy Young Award (in 2019).
This report on the Yankees' offer for Verlander shows that New York is willing to invest in their rotation. General manager Brian Cashman has already mentioned this offseason that he expects the team's payroll to increase in 2022. This move would have certainly pointed New York in that direction.
Considering how much money Verlander, Noah Syndergaard and Eduardo Rodríguez have made in free agency already, the remaining starting pitchers that are available are going to get paid. It's up to Cashman and the Yankees to decide if they want to spend a significant amount on pitching or use their winter budget on bats, like a shortstop, an outfielder and more.
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