- Justin Verlander to miss rest of season in order to undergo Tommy John surgery
- Verlander will almost certainly miss all of 2021, too
- Astros’ odds to win 2020 World Series decline to +2200
In an Instagram post posted Saturday morning, Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander announced that he will have to undergo Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow, which will end his 2020 season. Verlander pitched on Opening Day for the Astros back in July, but he was put on the injured list shortly thereafter after experiencing elbow discomfort.
Reports initially indicated that Verlander would need Tommy John, but the player and Astros manager Dusty Baker both shot down those claims. Verlander instead was trying to rehab his injury with the hopes of returning at some point this season. However, he said he “felt something” in his elbow during a simulated game earlier this week, and after consulting a number of doctors he has decided to go forward with the season-ending procedure.
End of Verlander’s Astros Tenure?
The 37-year-old insists he has no plans to retire. Verlander said, “I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Although 2020 has sucked, hopefully when this rehab process is all said and done, this will allow me to charge through the end of my career and be healthy as long as I want and pitch as long as I want and accomplish some of the goals that I want in my career.”
Justin Verlander needs Tommy John surgery, he announced on Instagram
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) September 19, 2020
The Astros signed the future Hall of Famer to a two-year contract extension worth $66 million before the beginning of this season. With the injury expected to keep Verlander sidelined for all of 2021, as well, his future with Houston is very much in doubt.
Verlander won his second career Cy Young Award last season after leading the league with 21 wins to just six losses in helping the Astros reach their second World Series in three seasons. He recorded seven strikeouts and picked up the win in his Opening Day start against the Mariners back in July.
Astros’ World Series Odds Dip Further
The Astros are likely to make the playoffs, but they are currently the only team in the American League playoff picture with a record under .500. Houston dropped to 25-26 on the season following Friday’s loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, but are still in second place in the AL West behind the Oakland Athletics. Houston is three games clear of the Mariners. With the second-place team in every division qualifying for the postseason this year, the Astros are still a good bet to qualify.
However, their chances of winning another pennant or a World Series title are as slim as they’ve been in years. Following the news of Verlander’s decision, the Astros’ odds to win this season’s championship dipped all the way to +2200. The only team currently in the AL postseason picture with worse odds is the Cleveland Indians (+2500).
The red-hot New York Yankees (+300) remain odds-on favorites to win the AL, but the Tampa Bay Rays (+300) are right there. The Chicago White Sox, who own the AL’s best record, are at +450, followed by Oakland at +500. The Astros, who have advanced to the ALCS in each of the last three years, are at just +1100 to win another pennant in 2020.
Without Verlander, the Astros will have to keep leaning on an incredibly young pitching staff around Zack Greinke. Greinke was the No. 3 pitcher in the rotation behind Verlander and Gerrit Cole, but he will now likely be the team’s No. 1 starter come playoff time. Framber Valdez, Jose Urquidy, Christian Javier, and Lance McCullers Jr. will round out the rotation in front of a rookie-laden bullpen for the Astros.