The Los Angeles Dodgers went into free agency facing a need in their starting rotation, which president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman acknowledged he intended to focus on this offseason.
Options for L.A. still include potentially re-signing Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer, but neither are considered a lock to return. In the meantime, the Dodgers’ first move with the pitching staff was to sign Andrew Heaney to a one-year contract.
He’s not considered a possible replacement for Kershaw or Scherzer, but rather a complementary piece who provides depth.
Justin Verlander is another who could fit that description, and the Dodgers had interest in the veteran, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 17, 2021
Shortly after L.A. was mentioned as having interest in the right-hander, Ben Verlander reported his brother has re-signed with the Astros:
🚨IT’S OFFICIAL🚨@JustinVerlander is signing with Houston Astros!!
— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) November 17, 2021
In addition to the Dodgers, the Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros and New York Yankees were among the teams connected to Verlander in free agency. He recently was said to have shown well during a throwing showcase that upwards of 20 teams attended.
The Astros extended a qualifying offer to Verlander, who made just one start in 2020 and missed all of this past season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Despite that being the case, some believe the future Hall of Famer could command — and receive — a multi-year contract.
Verlander declined the qualifying offer from the Astros, which would have required the Dodgers and any other signing team to give up a draft pick.
Would Dodgers sign Correa?
Verlander joined Carlos Correa as members of the 2017 Astros the Dodgers have been linked to in free agency. Though in Correa’s case, that’s only considered somewhat of a possibility if Corey Seager is not re-signed.
Whether or not the Dodgers would follow through with potentially adding Correa is unclear and a curious scenario considering history with the Astros’ cheating scandal.
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