SAN DIEGO – Less than 72 hours after losing one of their aces, Jacob DeGrom, the Mets have replaced him with a more decorated pitcher.
On Monday, the team agreed to terms with Justin Verlander On a two-year contract worth $86 million with an option to maturity of $35 million for 2025, a source familiar with the deal confirmed. The team has not yet announced the contract. When it becomes official, it will reunite Verlander with Max Scherzer, who played alongside him from 2010 to 2014 in Detroit.
Just like Scherzer, the 39-year-old Verlander has defied time, finishing 2022 with a major league best 1.75 ERA, and starting over 28 for the Astros, on his way to a Third American League Cy Young Award. Still using a fastball in the top of the 90s regularly late in games, the hard-hitting right-hander came off a season leading the majors in WHIP (0.83) and allowing the second-fewest hits per nine innings pitched (5.97).
After that campaign, Verlander opted out of the final year and $25 million left on his contract with the Astros for a free agency test.
Overall, Verlander is a 17-year veteran whose accolades include nine All-Star selections, the 2006 AL Rookie of the Year award, the 2011 AL MVP, and three AL Cy Youngs, including two in the past four seasons. Between those two awards, he had Tommy John surgery, missed the entire 2021 season, but came back with the best year of his career.
The only blemishes on Verlander’s resume are his age — he’ll turn 40 on Opening Day — and a spotty postseason record that includes several poor starts, but also the 2017 ALCS MVP award and last month’s World Series title. He finally got his first Fall Classic win in Game 5, giving up one run in five innings at Philadelphia.
In New York, Verlander will join a course that includes Scherzer, Carlos Carrasco, David Peterson and Taylor Miguel. The Mets remain in the market for an extra start, according to a source, with potential options including Kodai Senga, Chris Bassett, Jameson Taillon, Nathan Eovaldi, Andrew Heaney, and others. General Manager Billy Epler has mentioned on several occasions that starting to ask for answers can also come via the trade market.
There remains a great deal of uncertainty for the Mets who still have work to do in building the bullpen and fortifying the offense. The Mets entrust the fate of their rotation to a pair of aces who totaled 79 in July. But both are likely first-ballots to the Hall of Famers giving the Mets one of the most dynamic rotation peaks in their history.
More than anything else, Verlander’s signing allows the Mets to breathe a sigh of relief after DeGrum’s departure to the Rangers on a five-year deal. The team had hoped to keep DeGrom after he opted out of his contract, but Texas’ willingness to go $185 million for him prompted the Mets to turn their sights on Verlander instead.
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