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Which team is the front runner to sign Justin Verlander?

The Los Angeles Dodgers would seem to be leading the pack in the hunt for Justin Verlander, but nothing is done until everything is done.

The Los Angeles Dodgers would seem to be leading the pack in the hunt for Justin Verlander, but nothing is done until everything is done.
Rob CarrAFP

The Los Angeles Dodgers are out in front of everyone else in this delicate courtship of Justin Verlander.

The American League Cy Young winner is perhaps only behind Aaron Judge as the hottest property on the market right now, with everyone drooling at the thought of adding him to their arsenal. And while the Houston Astros owner Jim Crane adamant that the Astros are in the fray to keep him in Texas, the limber-armed veteran has made clear that market forces will dictate his next move.

And what a market it is. Both New York teams are pushing hard for his services, and have the deep pockets to make that move a reality, perhaps even too deep for Houston to compete with. But the real fly in the ointment lies out west.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have a history of hoovering up the best pitchers in baseball, year in and year out. They are a behemoth organization with the financial wherewithal to back it up, too.

Verlander flew out to Los Angeles on Monday to meet with his potential suitors, and reports are that the meeting went very well. And while the Dodgers are reportedly the current favorites to close the deal, it would perhaps be prudent for Dodger fans to remain guarded on the issue. After all, that Clayton Kershaw deal that was all but done in mid-November is still yet to be done as December gets underway. And as anyone in any business will know, until everything is done, nothing is done.

And that lays bare something of a raw nerve when speaking about the Dodgers: their seeming inability to close the deal. So goes the front office, so goes the season.

The Dodgers have been the best team in baseball on paper for a few years now. And yet they always seem to stumble at the end, getting to the post season in grand style only to be sent packing in ignominious circumstances.

When it comes to signing big players, the chances of playing in the World Series carries a lot of weight, often more than the money on the table. When the Dodgers picked up Clayton Kershaw back in 2012, the Texas Rangers actually offered him more money. For a Dallas native, that would seem to be the best of all worlds, right? Wrong. Kershaw chose less money to go to LA because it gave him the best chance of playing in the post season.

Verlander is reportedly on the hunt for a contract in the region of three years for around the $120 million mark, and while it would make a lot of sense for the Dodgers to pick him up for that kind of money, there is no guarantee that it would be enough.

The Yankees can match the money and so can Houston, both of whom may present a more realistic chance to pick up another World Series trophy than the Dodgers. And while the reports are that Verlander thinks that the Dodgers are an ideal fit for him, the deal is not done until it is done.


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