Boston Red Sox: 3 starting pitchers that could be signed in free agency

Marcus Stroman #0 of the New York Mets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Marcus Stroman #0 of the New York Mets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Boston Red Sox
Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Boston Red Sox free agent target No. 3: Justin Verlander

Justin Verlander has largely faded out of the MLB scene for the last two seasons. He only made one start in 2020 before getting Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss the entire 2021 season. Now Verlander is set to be a free agent as he heads into his age 39 season.

Despite his age and the fact that he has really only pitched six innings over the past two years, Verlander will have no shortage of suitors this offseason. Verlander is one of the most accomplished pitchers in MLB history, and ended up winning his 2nd Cy Young award in his most recent full season back in 2019. Verlander has fought off Father Time for quite some time, and if he intends on coming back to pitch next season, I wouldn’t put it past him to continue doing so.

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Verlander held a workout in Florida recently to show teams where he is at in his rehabilitation process, and the Boston Red Sox were one of the teams in attendance. Whether it’s due diligence or an actual interest in signing Verlander, it’s a telling sign that the Sox are looking to add starting pitching this offseason. If they want to take a flier on Verlander, it could end up paying out huge dividends.

In a loaded pitching market, Verlander probably won’t be one of the first guys targeted. As a result, Verlander may end up having a bit more of a limited market compared to other guys out there. He could end up drawing $20 million a year, which seems a bit risky when considering his situation, but if Verlander ends up pitching like his old self, he would be well worth the price.

A two year layoff for a soon to be 39 year old pitcher typically wouldn’t draw this much interest, but Verlander isn’t your typical pitcher. He has continued to get better with age, and turned in some of the best seasons of his career during his recent stretch with the Houston Astros. Boston may ultimately look for someone who isn’t as risky a signing as Verlander, but there probably aren’t many guys capable of reaching his heights, making him an enticing free agent target.