Astros ace Justin Verlander's free agency leaves his return to Houston up in the air
News dropped early on Thursday, November 10 that Astros ace Justin Verlander has exercised his player option and is now a free agent.
The first initial thought is to assume he's considering all offers and might be on his way out of Houston, but that's not necessarily the case. Less than an hour after Verlander declined the Astros' 1-year qualifying offer last year, he agreed to a new deal with Houston.
Astros owner Jim Crane mentioned on Wednesday, November 9 that the team had until 4 pm Thursday to negotiate with Verlander exclusively, which is still the case. But seeing the news first thing in the morning makes fans wonder if we're past the point of him agreeing to a deal before talking with other teams.
In Verlander's World Series media session, he spoke about being a free agent last year, and how that was a "cool new experience" for him. He also mentioned that the typical free agency experience, where players get “wined and dined” by teams, didn't play out last year because of COVID restrictions.
It also had to feel different for JV because he was a free agent coming back from Tommy John surgery who hadn't pitched in a game in almost two years.
Verlander may just want to enjoy the experience of being a free agent and bring all his offers to Jim Crane as a negotiation tactic. Crane, though, is more of a take-it-or-leave-it negotiator — just ask Carlos Correa.
It's entirely possible JV extends as early as Thursday. Or, he could go for all the money in free agency. Verlander probably doesn't know yet. Crane will likely let him walk if he wants top-of-the-market money.
Let's just hope JV is being thorough, listening to all the offers, enjoying a bunch of teams courting him, and ends up signing back with Houston.
This story originally ran on our sister site SportsMap.