Verlander needs 140 IP and a clean doctor's note to assure himself of 1/35 next season but if he misses that I could see him somewhere on Elias' target list for the year over year Lyles-Gibson-Kimbrel 1-year contract stretch.
Its a bit of an art question for baseball how it wants to grapple with all Friedman and Driveline have brought to the game. Roki Sasaki or Paul Skenes or even Grayson Rodriguez might be their generation's Justin Verlander but today's game will constrain them from revealing it as fully to baseball fans even if they are.
Verlander has become a TJ statistic in recent years, but for me he really isn't - every bit of work on his Hall of Fame plaque was done before the surgeon took some of him.
Buried in the article, but it says this:
“Verlander said he heard at the trade deadline that the Dodgers and Orioles were interested, and he said he’d have accepted Los Angeles or even Baltimore if those were the options. “I’m from Virginia,” Verlander said. But when Houston, where he’d won his rings, became viable, he said he was happy to “steer things” that way.”
Perfect! Reason I made the point in the first place is I frequently drive through rural areas in the south and midwest and have been saved a few times by small town mechanics that all happened to look and act like Cole Irvin. Turns out the real Cole Irvin can likely save a rotation starting off the season with injuries in the same way.
I don’t know if you mean a breakout player or if you mean who is most likely to be MVO. I’ll answer both, but the answer might be different tomorrow.
Breakout - Kjerstad. I think he’ll be who we wish Mountcastle would be
MVO - Burnes. This man is hungry for free agency and I’m hoping he has a career year, even by his standards.