The rumor mill is beginning to heat and there seems to be some smoke connecting the SF Giants to future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander. Ken Davidoff of the New York Post lists the Giants as a potential suitor for the veteran starter.
Are the SF Giants a potential landing spot for future HOF pitcher?
He adds that the Giants are expected to be very active in the starting pitching market given the resources they have to us:
"As evidenced by the turnout, Verlander’s market hardly will be limited to the Big Apple. The Giants, with massive payroll flexibility and coming off a 107-win season, will dip their toes in all starting-pitching waters, to name just one suitor"
Of course, the New York Post is not the only news outlet to connect the Giants with the 38-year-old pitcher. Tim Dierkes and Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors both predicted that Verlander would move out west to pitch for the Giants. On top of this, Anthony Castrovince of MLB.Com identified Verlander to the Giants as one of his bold offseason predictions.
There seems to be a lot of people who think that Verlander will be donning the Orange and Black next season. However, there are a few hurdles to consider. The first one being that the 16-year veteran was issued a qualifying offer by the Houston Astros.
If he does not accept it, then the team that signs him will likely lose a second-round pick. The draft pick compensation varies if a team received revenue sharing or exceeded the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT), but in many cases, the signing team will lose a second rounder.
The Giants might be reluctant to lose a draft pick, especially for a player who has pitched a total of six innings since the start of 2020. This brings us to the next hurdle, which is health. Verlander underwent Tommy John surgery in October of 2020, so when spring training rolls around, he will be 18 months removed from surgery.
The good news is that he has begun throwing bullpen sessions with his fastball velocity reaching as high as 96 MPH. However, the recovery from major elbow surgery is never linear. He may be healthy enough to pitch again, but it takes even longer for pitchers to regain their old form.
The veteran hurler has been a workhouse his entire career and he is on the brink of reaching the 3,000-inning threshold. Given his extensive workload and age, there is significant risk in signing him to a lucrative, multi-year deal.
Of course, if he pitches like the Verlander fans have seen for over a decade, he will be a tremendous value for a team. That team could be the Giants. The front office will need to rebuild the rotation as Logan Webb is the only starter returning from the 2021 season.
The Giants have a lot of payroll flexibility and a need for pitching, so it is no surprise to see them connected to a pitcher of Verlander's stature. They will likely cast a very wide net this offseason as they look to reel in at least four starting pitchers. Adding Verlander fills one hole but there would still be plenty of work to do.