Every team could use a frontline starter, and there’s a unique one who may be coming on the market this offseason the St. Louis Cardinals should pursue.
On August 4, Justin Verlander pitching six shutout innings against the Cleveland Guardians. Given Verlander’s talent level and the Guardians’ middling offense, this wasn’t all that shocking. However, the details of that specific game weren’t the biggest takeaway that night.
Those six frames bumped Verlander to 130 on the season, triggering a player option to return to the Astros next season for a $25 million salary that matches what Verlander is making this year. Sounds great, right? Not bad money for most.
But this is Justin Verlander, one of the best pitchers on the planet over the last couple of decades, and he has options aside from that option. Instead of simply returning to Houston next year, he can market his services to all 30 teams.
Okay, not all 30 franchises are realistic destinations, but Verlander will play where he wants to next season, and quite possibly a few years beyond that.
Should the Cardinals make a run at Verlander this winter? Let’s examine the pros and cons.