Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers

Who’s the real favorite to land Justin Verlander?

Many eyes are on free agent ace Justin Verlander, and it’s unknown where he may end up. However, there is a team that appears to be the most likely contender.

Free agent pitcher Justin Verlander is certainly a catch who’s gaining attention from many teams, including the Houston Astros, New York Mets, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers. The ace just earned his third Cy Young award and pitched an incredible regular season with the Astros, one of many reasons why so many teams are eyeing him.

The Dodgers could be the most realistic team to land Verlander, however. He’s worth a lot of money as one of the best pitchers in the league. Among all pitchers during the regular season, he produced the best ERA (1.75) and second-most wins (18). He also produced an incredible batting average against of .186 and WHIP of 0.83.

Though some players have a fluke season with a lot of good luck, this wasn’t the case for Verlander. He’s consistently produced similar results over the course of his career, and over the past four seasons in particular.

Because of his insane level of talent, he’s not likely to take an offer for less than he’s worth, and the Dodgers have been big spenders for a while. They’re the second-wealthiest team in the league, right behind the Yankees, so they likely wouldn’t have any issues dishing out enough money. Verlander is looking for Max Scherzer money ($40 million+ AAV).

Yankees are less likely to land Justin Verlander because of their past moves

The Yanks could certainly dish out the money, but when Verlander got a taste of free agency coming into the 2022 season, he didn’t seem particularly fond of New York as he revealed they’re ‘always a step behind.’

Essentially, they waited to see what other teams were doing before making moves of their own. Considering those circumstances, the Dodgers seem to be the most likely candidate for the star.

The Mets and Astros are likely contenders too, but New York would be wise to focus on Jacob deGrom.

The Astros, of course, could land him again, but how deep are Jim Crane’s pockets?

Among the teams currently in the running, the Dodgers seem to have the best chance of putting together a capable offer, not just because of their needs but also Verlander’s asking price.

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