The Los Angeles Dodgers entered the offseason with several voids to fill in their starting rotation as Clayton Kershaw, Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney reached free agency.
The Dodgers quickly reached a reported agreement with Kershaw on a one-year contract for the 2023 season, but saw Anderson sign a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels after he rejected the qualifying offer. Heaney remains a free agent and is said to be drawing interest from multiple teams.
While a reunion with Heaney is still plausible, the Dodgers could explore other options. Justin Verlander is among the top free-agent starting pitchers and reportedly sees a potential fit with L.A.
According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Dodgers are meeting with Verlander on Monday:
Word is Dodgers are meeting with Justin Verlander today. Would fit their preference for big talents on short-term deals (with of course very high AAV). Both NY teams interested and of course incumbent Astros.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 28, 2022
After missing all of 2021 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, Verlander turned in one of the best seasons of his career by going 18-4 with an MLB-best 1.75 ERA, 2.49 FIP and 0.83 WHIP in 175 innings pitched en route to winning the 2022 American League Cy Young Award.
When speaking to reporters about Verlander’s free agency earlier this month, Astros owner Jim Crane revealed the right-hander is looking for a similar contract to the one Max Scherzer signed with the New York Mets last offseason (three years, $130 million).
The Dodgers have shown a willingness to pursue short-term and high average annual value deals, but it remains to be seen if they’d be comfortable doing so with Verlander, who is entering his age-40 season.
The Dodgers were among the many teams who attempted to sign Verlander to a one-year contract last year after impressing during a throwing showcase.
Justin Verlander named 2022 AL Comeback Player of the Year
After a stellar season, Verlander was named the 2022 AL Comeback Player of the Year. His 1.75 ERA was the lowest by an AL pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 2000, and he also led the league in WHIP, wins, opponents’ batting average (.186), opponents’ OPS (.497) and hits per nine innings (5.97).
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