Justin Verlander will hold a showcase for scouts and evaluators tomorrow, The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli reports (Twitter links). This is the first time Verlander will throw in front of evaluators from other teams since his Tommy John surgery in September 2020. Multiple teams are expected to have personnel on hand, if just as a matter of simple due diligence rather than a clear interest in signing Verlander on the free agent market. As WFAN’s Sweeny Murti observes, it probably safe to assume the Yankees will have personnel on hand — Verlander is throwing at a Cressey Sports Performance facility, and Eric Cressey is the Yankees’ director of player health and performance.
It stands to reason that Verlander will probably hold multiple showcases in order to prove that his arm has recovered from the TJ procedure, and that he’ll be ready to roll when Spring Training camps open. The timing of a second showcase could be particularly important, however, since Verlander has until November 17 to decide whether or not to accept the qualifying offer extended by the Astros today. If Verlander throws well and gets some good buzz coming out of Monday’s session, it could make him lean against taking the one-year, $18.4MM offer to return to Houston, if he gets an indication that at least one other club is interested in making him a more lucrative multi-year deal on the open market.
More from the free agent market….
- J.D. Martinez’s decision to pass on his opt-out clause will keep the veteran slugger in Boston for another season, though it doesn’t mean that free agent Kyle Schwarber is necessarily roadblocked from a return to the Red Sox. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier) that the Sox have already been in touch with Schwarber and will continue to monitor his market throughout the winter. Martinez’s role as the regular DH and a fill-in outfielder might be the ideal spot for Schwarber, as while Schwarber did okay at first base for someone who had never played the position before, he probably isn’t a viable solution at first over the longer term (plus, the Sox have Bobby Dalbec and prospect Triston Casas ready for more first base time). However, Schwarber hit so well during his two-plus months in Boston that it isn’t surprising that the club will look to get creative in trying to find a fit for him in the lineup. For his part, Schwarber said after the ALCS that he would be interested in a return to the Sox.
- Despite Andrew Heaney’s very rough 2021 season, several teams are eyeing the left-hander as a possible bounce-back candidate. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman (Twitter link) lists the Blue Jays, Cardinals, Dodgers, and Nationals as some of the teams interested in the free agent hurler. Heaney still had above-average strikeout and walk rates last year, as most of his problems stemmed from an inability to avoid home runs — Heaney allowed a whopping 29 homers over his 129 2/3 innings with the Angels and Yankees.