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MLB Rumors: Justin Verlander, Dodgers Meeting Monday amid 2022 Free Agency

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVNovember 28, 2022

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 05:  Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros celebrates on the field after the Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 6 of the 2022 World Series at Minute Maid Park on Saturday, November 5, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly have their eye on one of the biggest free-agency prizes on the market.

According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Dodgers are meeting with pitcher Justin Verlander on Monday. Heyman noted the right-hander "would fit their preference" for a marquee name on a shorter deal, although the Houston Astros, New York Yankees and New York Mets are also interested.

That the future Hall of Famer would be on a shorter deal comes as no surprise since he turns 40 years old in February.

For a Dodgers team in win-now mode, he could make the difference between a World Series title and an earlier exit.

Verlander's resume includes two World Series titles, three American League Cy Young awards, an AL MVP, an AL Rookie of the Year, two ERA titles and nine All-Star selections.

He showed no signs of slowing in 2022 as the AL Cy Young winner who helped the Astros win the World Series. He finished the regular season with a 1.75 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 185 strikeouts in 175 innings, although there was some inconsistency in the playoffs.

Houston won three of his four starts, but he was either excellent or far off his game in all of them. He gave up a combined 11 earned runs in two of his starts but allowed a single earned run in each of the other two, including when he pitched five innings in a critical Game 5 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.

That the Dodgers are competing with fellow high-profile teams in the Astros, Yankees and Mets will surely drive the price tag up on Verlander, but his won't be a contract that lingers over a team for years to come given his age and the stage of his career.

Any of those teams would significantly improve their World Series chances by bringing him in, and the Dodgers would give him the chance to pitch in the National League for the first time in his career.