Justin Verlander admits he has thought about returning to Tigers
While Justin Verlander won his World Series title with the Houston Astros, pretty much all his other career milestones came with the Detroit Tigers. The star pitcher threw two no-hitters for Detroit and won his MVP award there, as well as his first of two Cy Young Awards.
Verlander is out for the 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but is set to become a free agent after the season ahead of his anticipated return to the mound in 2022. Where that return will be is an open question, but Verlander admitted Sunday that it could be with the Tigers.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it,” Verlander told Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press when asked if he considered returning to Detroit. “Yeah, of course. I loved playing there. I love the city. I love the fans. Yes, I do think about it. Ultimately, the decision comes down to what’s best for my career. If that aligns with that possibility, then maybe it does.
“It’s a city that means a lot to me and I grew up in front of and had a lot of accomplishments there. So yeah, of course I do.”
Verlander will want to try and land with a winner if he can, and the Tigers aren’t there yet. After contending for much of Verlander’s time in Detroit, the team hasn’t had a winning season since 2016, and remains in the middle of an extended rebuild. That reality may not align with Verlander’s personal goals right now.
On the other hand, the Tigers have some talented young starters that they would love to have Verlander mentor. It’s too early for Verlander to decide, but the door is definitely open.