The hot stove is heating up, folks, and this is one of my favorite rumors involving the Braves to date. According to David O’Brien of The Athletic, the Braves are interested in two-time Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander.
Hearing that #Braves are among teams that have expressed interest in Justin Verlander. They have several factors that he’s reportedly seeking: contender, East Coast team, and train in Florida.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) November 17, 2021
With payroll expected to increase, a move like this makes too much sense for both sides. Verlander is coming off Tommy John surgery and has pitched a total of six innings since 2019, so there’s risk, but the reward could be worth it for Alex Anthopoulos and the Braves.
We know how much AA loves the one-year deal, and that could be exactly what Verlander is looking for to prove himself and earn another multi-year contract next offseason. We know he wants to play for a contender, and according to multiple sources, he’s eyeing a team on the East Coast. Sounds like a match made in heaven to me.
Assuming Verlander returns anywhere close to form, he would make Atlanta’s rotation arguably the best in baseball. Charlie Morton is expected to be back for Spring Training; Max Fried has proven to be one of the best left-handed pitchers in the game, and Ian Anderson has impressed ever since making his debut in 2020. Verlander may be going on 39-years-old, but he was as good as anybody last time he was healthy, winning the Cy Young in 2019 and finishing second in 2018. Adding him to the mix could be a nightmare for the rest of the teams in the National League.