Champions Again!

The Astros Have Won the World Series, But Will They Lose Verlander?

Are we about to lose our ace on the mound?

By Jessica Lodge

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros celebrate their 4-1 World Series win against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 6 on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Houston.

Four-time American League Champions and now two-time World Series Champions, the Houston Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies Saturday night to once again bring the Commissioner’s Trophy back to its rightful home in H-Town. The journey to become champions has been full of ups and downs for the organization, but more specifically for their star pitcher, Justin Verlander. Now that the boys at Minute Maid secured the win, we’re left with a very important question: will Verlander stay with the Astros?

Verlander returned to the mound this season after enduring a torn right UCL in 2020 and missing the entire 2021 season due to ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction, commonly known as Tommy John surgery. The 39-year-old player defied all odds, leading the league in lowest earned runs percentage (1.75 ERA). Verlander placed second with 18 wins, was voted AL Comeback Player and Outstanding Pitcher, and is the frontrunner to win his third AL Cy Young award. 

So, as he wraps this historic chapter in his career, will Verlander continue with the Astros in hopes of bringing a third title to the team?

Here’s what we know for sure: Verlander agreed to a $50 million, two-year contract during the 2021 offseason that included a $25 million player option in the second year. With all that hardware in his trophy case, it’s very possible that he will opt out of his contract and once again test out the free agency waters. The hope is he could resign with the team for a high-paying one year extension or even a multi-year contract. If an agreement cannot be reached, teams such as the Atlanta Braves and the Baltimore Orioles look to be the top landing spots for the veteran. 

This offseason will be hectic as there are other prominent players that will look to free agency: Yuli Gurriel, Trey Mancini, Christian Vasquez, Michael Brantley, Aledmys Diaz, Martin Maldonado, Jason Castro, Will Smith, Rafael Montero, and even our beloved Dusty Baker. 

While Astros owner Jim Crane and the entire front office will likely pull out all the stops in hopes to keep him on the roster, it’s ultimately up to Verlander and his team.

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