The New York Mets lost two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom to the Texas Rangers in free agency but today replaced him with three-time winner Justin Verlander, formerly of the Houston Astros. The right-hander reportedly has agreed to a two-year, $86 million deal with a third-year vesting option for 2025. The Mets' odds to win the 2023 World Series had been +1100 after losing deGrom, but shortened to +850 with the Verlander addition.
The 39-year-old (40 in February) made just one start in the shortened 2020 campaign and missed all of 2021 following Tommy John surgery. Yet he came back strong and was fantastic this past season for the World Series champion Astros, pitching his way to a third Cy Young. He finished 18-4 in 28 regular-season starts with a miniscule 1.75 ERA and 0.83 WHIP (both tops in majors), a 27.8% strikeout rate, 4.4% walk rate and 37.9% ground ball rate. Verlander's final start with Houston was a victory in Game 5 of the World Series in Philadelphia, allowing one run and four hits over five innings. It was his first career World Series win.
Verlander is one of six pitchers in AL/NL history to throw three or more no-hitters, tossing one against the Brewers in 2007, and two against the Blue Jays (2011 and '19).
This is a reunion for Verlander and Mets right-hander (and fellow three-time Cy Young winner) Max Scherzer. The two aces were teammates in Detroit from 2010 to 2014. New York opens the 2023 season in Miami on March 30. Verlander opted out of the one year and $25 million remaining on his contract with the Astros to test free agency. Many believed that Verlander would return to Houston, but apparently the Astros balked at a third year on the contract.
The Rangers signed deGrom to a five-year, $185 million deal on Friday. Texas is still a +5000 longer shot to win the 2023 Fall Classic. Houston remains the +400 favorite to repeat. The Mets are third-favorites behind the Astros and Dodgers (+500), with L.A. re-signing its own three-time Cy Young winner, Clayton Kershaw. The MLB Winter Meetings began on Sunday in San Diego and there likely will be other big-name signings and trades this week.
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