For a brief moment on Wednesday afternoon, Bob Nightengale got White Sox fans’ hopes up. At 1:45 in the afternoon, he Tweeted about the fact that the Chicago White Sox were showing interest in free agent pitcher Justin Verlander.
Justin Verlander is one of the best pitchers of this generation. The Chicago White Sox know this all too well after watching him torment the rest of the American League Central for 14 years with the Detroit Tigers.
Verlander would be a great addition to any starting rotation. All the proof you need is his trophy case. He is an eight-time All-Star, two-time Cy Young award winner, 2006 rookie of the year, 2017 ALCS MVP, 2011 American League MVP, a Triple Crown winner, and the owner of an ERA title.
The vision of him pitching next to Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, Micheal Kopech, and Dylan Cease in the black and white pinstripes is enough to make any White Sox fan salivate.
The Chicago White Sox are in on starting pitching during this active offseason.
Unfortunately, it was a typical Bob Nightengale Tweet that got White Sox fans got their hopes up only to realize it was a pipe dream. Verlander agreed to a one-year $25 million deal with Houston Astros. This has some major implications for the White Sox heading into next year.
For starters, the Houston Astros remain the White Sox biggest roadblock to the World Series in the American League. They humiliated the White Sox in the ALDS with a convincing gentleman’s sweep.
Adding Verlander back into the equation will only make their rotation better. The Astros already had the seventh-best ERA in baseball with a 3.78 mark. Trying to win a four-game series facing Lance McCullers Jr and Justin Verlander is something no team wants to sign up for.
It also impacts the White Sox immediate future this offseason. By all indications, the White Sox are going to be aggressive. However, the Justin Verlander and Noah Syndergaard deal set a very high market price on starting pitchers.
While Verlander is an excellent pitcher, he missed all of last season due to Tommy John surgery. Twenty-five million dollars is a lot to pay an aging pitcher for one season. The Angels also paid Syndergaard, another injury-prone pitcher who did not pitch last season, an absurd amount of money. He inked a one-year deal worth $21 million.
The White Sox have other pressing needs to address besides starting pitching depth. A second baseman and right fielder are at the top of Rick Hahn’s checklist. If they want a big-name free agent for either of those positions it may prohibit them from resigning Carlos Rodón or any other quality arms.
All Scott Boras has to do, is point to the money Verlander and Syndergaard got already. MLB executives have already made it crystal clear that pitching is a hot commodity this offseason. Free-agent pitchers have been flying off the shelves while the market for position players has remained idol to this point.