What is happening with Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros?

It appeared to be a done deal. Justin Verlander was heading back to the Houston Astros on a two year deal worth $50 million. The contract was reported and everyone was ready to strike Verlander off of their free agent wish lists. It was just a matter of the deal being signed and the Astros making it official.

But that has not happened. Even though the contract was signed two weeks ago, Verlander is not listed as being a part of the Astros’ roster and no one knows why.

Justin Verlander not officially back with Houston Astros

Verlander was going to be a risk for any team. He had thrown all of six innings since the end of the 2019 season, missing most of the past two years due to Tommy John surgery and the pandemic. As he will be 39 years old at the start of the 2022 season, Verlander was not exactly a given any longer.

But Verlander had emerged as an intriguing option in free agency. He held a showcase for interested teams shortly after the season ended, with representatives from at least half the teams in the league in attendance. His fastball was reportedly clocked between 94 and 97 MPH, a solid showing for someone that was just over 13 months from his procedure.

Likewise, he had been impressive in his last full season in the majors. In 2019, Verlander led the majors with 21 wins, 223 innings, and a 0.803 WHiP while posting a 2.58 ERA and striking out 300 batters. He won the AL Cy Young award, and although he was 36 years old, did not appear to be slowing down.

This potential snag in Verlander’s contract could be a second chance for other teams. He had a robust market prior to signing in Houston, and provided that his elbow is healthy, should not have a problem finding other suitors. Maybe he does not end up with that two year deal again, but Verlander will not have any problems finding another team if he does not end up with Houston.

Justin Verlander appeared to have signed a two year contract with the Houston Astros. However, that deal is still not official.