MLB's Justin Verlander on tough career decisions: 'Go with your gut'

Thomas Barrabi
Fox Business

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander would not be a defending World Series champion during this fall’s MLB playoffs if not for his willingness to take a career risk.

After spending his entire career with the Detroit Tigers, Verlander opted to waive his no-trade clause just minutes before a waiver deadline to join the Astros with one month remaining in the 2017 season. The 35-year-old pitcher became a key factor in the Astros’ push toward last season’s championship, and he is once again leading the team’s rotation in this year’s playoffs.

Verlander has credited his wife, supermodel Kate Upton, with encouraging him to make the career-shaping choice to join the Astros. Based on his own experience, the seven-time MLB All-Star advised workers facing a tough career choice to trust their instincts.

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“Leaving the Tigers was extremely difficult – at the time, I never saw it happening,” Verlander told FOX Business. “But, life throws curveballs at you and I would say, go with your gut and don’t get too caught up overthinking things. Everything works out in the end.”

Verlander has parlayed his success on the mound into $200 million in earnings during his MLB career, as well as a stack of endorsement deals with several prominent companies. He’s an ambassador for Under Armour, Rawlings, Breitling and GlaxoSmithKline’s Flonase, among other brands.

For Flonase, Verlander stars in a series of commercials alongside his father, Richard. The Astros star said the campaign appealed to him because it added a personal touch to the product, touching on both his close relationship with his dad and his lifelong struggle with seasonal allergies during baseball season.

“I always work with brands that align with me and that I personally like,” Verlander said. “They’re always things I use in my everyday life and I feel passionately about.”

Verlander’s wife, Upton, has amassed an impressive business resume of her own. Aside from her successful fashion modeling career and frequent magazine cover appearances, Upton recently launched her own workout program, Strong4Me Fitness.

Verlander and Upton married in Italy last fall, just hours after the Astros’ World Series win. The newlyweds are expecting their first child together.

“I’m extremely proud of her. We’re always helping each other out, whether it’s business or personal,” Verlander said. “We usually don’t talk business that much – we like to just be together like any other couple.”

Verlander’s Astros swept the Cleveland Indians this week to advance to the 2018 American League Championship Series, where they’ll face the winner of the New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox series. The ALCS is scheduled to begin on Saturday, Oct. 13.

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