Verlander received a one-year contract worth $25 million with a player option for 2023. Because he rejected the qualifying offer this offseason, Verlander will not be eligible to receive it next offseason or any other point in his career moving forward.
The soon-to-be 39-year-old Verlander has not pitched since Opening Day 2020 because of an elbow injury that would later require Tommy John surgery. By all accounts his rehab has gone well and Verlander will be ready to pitch come spring training. The Astros know Verlander’s medicals better than anyone and obviously they felt comfortable re-signing him.
In 2019, his last full and health season, Verlander won the AL Cy Young and pitched to a 2.58 ERA in a league-leading 223 innings with elite strikeout (12.1 K/9) and walk (1.7 BB/9) numbers. Verlander is a future Hall of Famer and could return to that level right away in 2022, though Tommy John surgery comes with risk, especially at age 39.
With Verlander back in the fold, the Astros are expected to go into next season with Verlander, Luis Garcia, Lance McCullers Jr., José Urquidy, and Framber Valdez in their rotation in some order. Youngster Cristian Javier could slot in as the No. 6 starter or potentially move into a high-leverage bullpen role full-time.
Our R.J. Anderson ranked Verlander the No. 17 free agent on the market. Although he declined the qualifying offer, the Astros will neither receive nor forfeit draft picks as compensation for re-signing Verlander.