After missing the entire 2021 season and all but one start of the shortened 2020 season, Tigers legend Justin Verlander is back on the mound. Monday afternoon, Verlander threw in front of representatives of 15-20 teams as he looks to make his comeback at age 39 from Tommy John surgery. I know the question you are asking yourself, and the answer is yes, the Detroit Tigers were one of the teams in attendance.
The Houston Astros made Verlander a qualifying offer following the conclusion of the season, but he has yet to decide whether he will accept it. Monday’s showcase will certainly go a long way towards that decision, but given the positive reports, it’s now very likely he’ll decline the offer to hit the open market in the hopes that he’ll be able to land a multi-year deal. Despite his advanced age, Verlander still seems to have much more left in the tank, throwing 96 MPH multiple times and touching 97 according to one report. That’s extremely impressive given that peak velocity typically takes time to show up after returning to the mound.
Heard 15-20 teams were in to see Justin Verlander’s workout today in Florida. Threw about 25 pitches. Clocked in at 94-97 mph. He is among the most fascinating potential free agents. Can still take the $18.4M qualifying offer from the #Astros, but strong chance he tests market.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 8, 2021
We all know plenty about Justin Verlander. Coming up in Detroit and giving the Tigers some of the best seasons of his career, he is known as one of the most dominant pitchers of this generation and holds a one-way ticket to Cooperstown that will be stamped the day he retires. However, that day is not expected to come quite yet as he has stated that he plans to pitch until he’s 45. As the Tigers look to get back to the top of the American League, the question becomes do they believe in his ability to help the team?
Verlander would undoubtedly be welcomed back to Detroit with open arms but bringing him back represents a risk as well. The Tigers need to add starting pitching, but also need to be strategic with their investments. A 39-year-old coming off Tommy John surgery who is expecting multiple years and AAV in the 20-million-dollar range might not be the smartest move they could make, especially when there are younger options in the prime of their careers available.
On the other hand, this is Justin-freaking-Verlander we’re talking about. If anyone can come back from surgery at his age and dominate, it’s him. This is a once-in-a-generation arm who won a World Series with AJ Hinch and loves the city of Detroit. He’s quite likely worth a few million more to the Tigers in merchandise and ticket sales than just about any free agent out there. With the Tigers stocked with a stable of young and talented arms, Verlander is already the blueprint for these guys. Why not bring him back and let him lead the staff again while giving Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, and Matt Manning a front row ticket to the greatest pitcher to ever wear the Old English D?
What do you think, should Justin Verlander be a top target for the Tigers this offseason?
Do you want the Tigers to sign Justin Verlander this offseason?
This poll is closed
Yes, but only for two years/$40 million or less
Yes, just do it guys
No, the time isn’t right for a return just yet