Some Astros 'revolted' when Justin Verlander was tabbed to throw out first pitch before playoff game

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By , Audacy Sports

A new report suggests that the final chapter in Justin Verlander's illustrious career may come somewhere other than Houston.

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In a story published Friday, USA Today's Bob Nightengale writes that the looming possibility of a multi-year deal in free agency might not be the only reason that Verlander ends up declining the one-year/$18.4 million qualifying offer that the Astros extended to him:

"Yet, he also knows it could be a bit uncomfortable returning to Houston. The Astros players revolted when Verlander was scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch during the postseason, telling owner Jim Crane they preferred someone else considering Verlander had not been around all season."

It should be noted that while things appear to be trending in the direction of Verlander declining the qualifying offer, he has not yet made his decision. The former American League MVP will have until Nov. 17 to decide if he wants to accept the qualifying offer or not. If he declines it and signs elsewhere, the Astros will receive draft compensation.

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Of course, it's entirely possible that Verlander declines the qualifying offer and signs a multi-year deal to remain in Houston. But despite Astros general manager James Click saying in Nightengale's article that COVID-19 protocols were the reason that Verlander wasn't around the team as he rehabbed from Tommy John surgery that he underwent in September of 2020, at least some of his teammates seemingly didn't buy that line of thinking. Perhaps a fresh start would be best for all parties involved.

And it won't be hard for Verlander to find a lucrative contract elsewhere. He apparently looked excellent in a throwing session for interested teams earlier this week, and while he's essentially missed two full seasons, he won the American League Cy Young Award in 2019, his last full season. Audacy Sports has projected that the eight-time All-Star will sign a two-year/$37 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels, but a slew of other contenders figure to bid on Verlander's services.

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