Could the Phillies Pursue Justin Verlander or Trevor Story in Free Agency?
With the Phillies offseason upon us, many rumors, mutual interests, and free-agent signings are starting to come out each day. The Phillies have been sort of quiet so far, with only one or two noted players that they have an interest in, Starling Marte being one of those players.
A report from Jon Heyman came out earlier today, in regards to veteran right-hander Justin Verlander, about where he is taking his talents to this offseason. The report is interesting because it sort of applies to the Phillies. Check it out.
So there’s not a lot of information here, but there are two key points. Number one, Justin Verlander could potentially prefer a team that trains in Florida, due to one of his homes being in Florida. Number two, Verlander could prefer a team that plays on the East Coast. I’m not a geography guy, but I do know that the Phillies play on the East Coast, in the wonderful city of Philadelphia, and that Clearwater, the home for Phillies spring training, is in the sunshine state of Florida.
Do I think that the Phillies will go after Verlander? No. But there’s always a chance. The team needs another starting pitcher, and adding Verlander to a lineup with Wheeler, Nola, Eflin, and Suarez would be dominant. It all comes down to what Verlander wants money-wise, and if the Phillies thought it would be worth it.
Verlander has pitched 16 years in the majors, after being drafted in the first round of the 2004 Amateur Draft out of Old Dominion. The 2011 MVP, 2x Cy Young winner, Rookie of the Year, and 8x All-Star will be looking for a new home this offseason. Verlander is coming off a missed 2021 season after getting Tommy John Surgery. His most recent season was in 2019, where he tallied a 21-6 record with a 2.58 ERA, striking out 300 batters in 223 innings pitched, and taking him the NL Cy Young award.
Justin Verlander right now in his career is sort of a high-risk, high-reward player. He’s always been a dominant arm, but coming off the biggest surgery in all of baseball at 38 years old, you don’t know what he’s going to look like once he’s officially back. If the deal wasn’t bank-breaking, I’d no doubt take the chance on Verlander. He’s always been a force when he’s on the mound, posting a career 3.33 ERA, with over 2900 innings pitched.
Trevor Story is another huge name that I would simply do bad things to have on my baseball team. Trevor Story will be hitting free agency this offseason. in one of the biggest SS free agent groups that I can remember, including Carlos Correa, Javier Baez, and Corey Seager as well. Trevor Story has officially declined his $18.4M qualifying offer as of around a half-hour ago.
Trevor Story hit .251/.329/.471 over the 2021 season, with 24 HRs, 75 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases, crossing the plate 88 times as well. Trevor Story posted a .975 fielding percentage over the 2021 season, with 14 errors in 138 games played. Trevor Story is one of the best shortstops in the game and is going to be getting some big money this offseason, and I would find it very hard to believe if Dave Dombrowski wasn’t on the phone with his agent very soon.
There are so many options out there for the Phillies to upgrade their roster this offseason. Big pitchers, hitters, and batters are all over the market. With Dave Dombrowski now in his first full winter with the Phillies, I’m fully expecting Uncle Dave to make the necessary moves to get this team back into the playoffs.