Astros should avoid Justin Verlander at all costs, here's why
You've read the headline and are probably thinking to yourself: "Has Jermaine lost his damn mind?!?" No. I can assure you I haven't. I feel what I feel and said what I said. With that in mind, hear me out:
Justin Verlander is a generational talent. He's one of the pictures you see in the baseball dictionary when you look up definitions like ace, hoss, or throwback starter. There aren't many of his kind left. Specifically speaking, he's one of the last of the dying breed of starting pitchers who will consistently throw 180 plus innings every year, can pitch on short rest in postseason, wants the ball in pressure games, will fight his way out of tough spots as opposed to being taken out, and can actually maintain velocity in the later innings. Long story short: he's one of the gold standards when looking for a top line starter for a rotation.
Verlander is set to test the free agency waters this offseason after his two year, $66 million dollar extension expired. The other day, less than a week after his team lost the World Series, he held a workout for over half the league. Reports said that Verlander's velocity on his fastball was in the 94-97mph range. There were also reports stating he's looking for more than a one-year deal, possibly two or more. The Astros have extended a one-year qualifying offer around $19 million. The thought is that he's ready to move on from Houston and take his talents to the highest
bidder contender. Mind you, he hasn't been around the team all season, or last season. He chose to rehab and stay away. So when the guys allegedly opted to not have him throw out the first pitch during the playoffs, I agreed one thousand percent.
One of the main reasons I don't want Verlander back is loyalty. Loyalty is a big thing to me. I've been the victim of disloyal friends, family members, coworkers, etc. When you're betrayed by people you thought would be in your corner and have your back no matter what, it changes you, especially when you're dealing with some of life's craziest curveballs. I've dealt with disloyalty while dealing with deaths of loved ones. I've endured tragedy and had people turn on me in the midst of it. These kinds of things reveal who your real friends and family members are because they stick with you no matter what. Family isn't always blood related. There are some family you gain because they show what Verlander hasn't: loyalty in the face of a storm. Going through all the things I've dealt with has made my circle so small, I almost cut myself off.
Meanwhile, the Astros are coming off their fifth consecutive ALCS appearance and third World Series appearance in five years. Despite all their recent success, this team is set to lose yet another high-end free agent. Not just any high-end free agent, but one who has a first ballot Hall of Fame résumé. They're also losing a player who plays one of the positions they can't afford to lose: frontline ace. While their pitching staff can still be of quality, it's nowhere near what it could be with Verlander as the captain of the ship. I'm willing to move on from him anyway because like the great American poet Shawn Carter once said: "When the grass is cut, the snakes will show."
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