Houston Astros, MLB Free Agency

The real reason Justin Verlander is staying with the Houston Astros

Loyalty was a deciding factor in Justin Verlander staying with the Houston Astros

Despite interest from numerous teams and declining his qualifying offer, Justin Verlander will still be a Houston Astro in 2022.

The two-time Cy Young-winner and the Astros are in agreement on a one-year deal for $25M with a player option for 2023.

In a hilarious twist, the news was announced by none other than Verlander’s brother Ben.

The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves, were among the teams eyeing Verlander, but according to Jon Heyman, the Astros had an advantage over Verlander’s many suitors. He felt loyalty not only to the team, but to its owner, Jim Crane.

Astros rumors: Justin Verlander’s loyalty kept him in Houston

Loyalty isn’t something you see much of in sports, which are, above all, businesses. But the Astros extended a qualifying offer to their veteran star despite him only pitching in one game over the last two seasons. And when he declined said offer, they took an even more expensive risk on him being able to come back and pitch effectively in 2022, when he’ll be 39 years old. Verlander is repaying loyalty with loyalty.

With the Collective Bargaining Agreement expiring on December 1, the starting pitcher market is scorching hot. Verlander is the second pitcher this week to sign a one-year deal for over $20M; Noah Syndergaard is leaving the Mets for the Angels, and longtime Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez signed a lucrative multi-year deal with the Tigers on Monday.

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