Justin Verlander is just like a fine wine; he gets better and better as the years go by. Right now he's experiencing his second youth with the Houston Astros, as he is one of the top Cy Young candidates and he is currently a World Series Champion.
But 4 years ago, things were the opposite as they are now: In 2014, Verlander thought that his career was truly over and that there was no turning back, as he told to MLB.com's Jon Morosi.
The more you watch #Astros Justin Verlander dominate, the more incredulous it is to believe that the #Yankees and everyone else didn’t bother claiming him on waivers last August. And, oh yes, his top two preferences to be traded from the #Tigers were to the #Dodgers or #Yankees.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) 28 de mayo de 2018
One awful outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 11 of that year, made him rethink his career and truly made him think that it was all over for him. During that game, Verlander had a disastrous first inning, where he also clocked an all-time low speed pitch at 86 mph.
Verlander also felt a pain that he had never experienced before, which made him think that he would need a career-ending surgery:
There's that tunnel down there, and I sat down and lost it. I thought my career was over. I thought I was done. I thought the MRI was going to say I needed shoulder surgery. I was 99 percent sure I was going to need shoulder surgery. I couldn't throw a baseball.
However, Verlander did not need surgery and according to Morosi, the pain was caused by a bad rehabilitation process that ultimately led him to play through pain that season. Things were not going well for him and the Detroit Tigers at that moment, but then the Houston Astros came to the rescue and gave Verlander a second chance.
Verlander feels so good right now that he even wants to pitch until he's 45, according to what he said to Morosi:
In my head, right now, I'm thinking 45. I don't know if that's realistic. I'm going to go as long as I can, until something changes.