On Thursday, Justin Verlander officially said goodbye to a 13-year career with the Tigers. The trade, made in the eleventh hour prior to the August 31 deadline, appears to be a prudent one for both the Tigers and Astros, but it understandably elicited some emotion from the right-hander. “Last night, I was given 45 minutes to make the hardest decision of my life,” Verlander told his Instagram followers in a thank-you video recorded Friday afternoon.
“Firstly, I want to thank everyone here in Detroit, from the front office to all of my teammates, and especially the fans,” Verlander said. “The way you guys have treated me over the last 12 years has been so special to me. Going all the way back to 2006, when this city was in turmoil, I remember the way everybody rallied around our team going to the World Series that year, what it meant to the city, and what a special time [it was] in my life.”
Despite all the warm and friendly feelings toward his former team, the righty doesn’t appear reluctant to hitch his wagon to a contender, even one that’s seen more than its share of struggles on and off the field this summer. “I’m excited to go to Houston,” he continued. “It’s another city in turmoil right now, as everybody knows. I’m excited to give the city something to rally around, something to cheer for and root for, and hopefully we can bring a championship to Houston.”
In the caption to his video, Verlander announced that he would continue to work with the city of Detroit through his foundation, Wins for Warriors, and expand to Houston “effective immediately” in order to aid the relief efforts centered around Hurricane Harvey.
His full video is below:
Thank you to Detroit for an incredible 13-seasons, a city that will always be important to me. But now I couldn’t be more excited to join the Astros and am looking forward to getting started right away. I am committed to making an impact off the field, especially during such difficult times. My Foundation, Wins for Warriors, will continue to do the great work we have started in Detroit, but will also expand to Houston effective immediately and get involved with aiding the #HurricaneHarvey disaster relief efforts. @winsforwarriors