The Los Angeles Dodgers have a significant void at shortstop with Trea Turner reaching free agency, but also face needs in their starting rotation, which president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman identified as a priority this offseason.
Clayton Kershaw reportedly agreed to re-sign for the 2023 season, but his one-year contract has yet to be finalized. Even with Kershaw back in the fold, the Dodgers starting rotation could use additional reinforcement.
As part of their search for pitching, the Dodgers reportedly met with Houston Astros free agent Justin Verlander on Monday.
According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Dodgers are among the teams most likely to sign Verlander:
“On the verge, for me, might be a little bit too strong in terms of where things stand at the moment. But I do believe the Dodgers are among the strongest candidates to sign Verlander. … I really think of all the possibilities, the Dodgers, to me, have about as much of a chance of happening for Verlander as any other team. I really believe that.
“Whether they’re at 40%, 50%, I’m not sure what the field looks like right now. If you asked me right now, where do I think Verlander will sign? I believe the Dodgers have the best chance at this moment to sign Justin Verlander.”
Astros owner Jim Crane recently indicated the right-hander is seeking a contract similar to what Max Scherzer signed with the New York Mets last offseason (three years, $130 million). Verlander is entering his age-40 season next year, whereas Scherzer turned 38 during the first season of his contract.
After missing all of 2021 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, Verlander turned in one of the best performances of his career by going 18-4 with an MLB-best 1.75 ERA, 2.49 FIP and 0.83 WHIP across 175 innings pitched en route to winning the 2022 American League Cy Young Award.
Verlander additionally won the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award.
Does Justin Verlander want to sign with Dodgers?
Prior to their meeting this week, it was reported that Verlander viewed the Dodgers as an ideal fit.
Along with being a perennial World Series contender, the Dodgers front office has shown a willingness — if not preference — to sign free agents to short-term contracts with a high high average annual value.
Although with a slew of Dodgers pitching prospects on the doorstep of being ready to contribute at the Major League level, the team may be reluctant to sign Verlander to a three-year contract.
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