Justin Verlander, the 2022 Cy Young Award winner for the American League, has reached an agreement with the New York Mets to play in the Big Apple.
Verlander’s new deal will be for two years, with the possibility of a third year being added at the end of the agreement. The first two years of the deal are valued at a total of $86.66 million, CBS reports.
The contract with an annual worth of $43.3 million is the same as what the Mets gave Max Scherzer during the offseason last year (three years, $130 million), and it is tied for the highest in the history of baseball.
Aaron Judge is in the running to become the third player in history to sign a contract worth more than $40 million per year. As of yet, Scherzer and Verlander are the only two players to have ever done so, according to CBS.
When Verlander played for the Detroit Tigers from 2010 to 2012, Scherzer was a member of the same team. Even though Verlander will turn 40 in February and Scherzer will turn 39 in July, the pair have won a combined six Cy Young Awards, each of which they have won three times.
Verlander, who is currently 39 years old and will turn 40 in February, started 28 games for the Houston Astros last season and had an earned run average of 1.75. This was after he missed most of the 2020-21 seasons while undergoing Tommy John surgery and then recovering from it.
Verlander is the sixth reigning Cy Young winner to sign with a new team as a free agent since the award was first presented in 1953.
The Mets needed to find a replacement for two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom, who signed a contract with the Texas Rangers on Friday that will pay him $185 million for five years, according to The Dallas Express.
After deGrom, Chris Bassitt, and Taijuan Walker become free agents, the Mets are anticipated to sign another starting pitcher in addition to Verlander.
This past season, the Mets had a record of 101–61 and finished in second place in the National League East behind the Braves. However, they were defeated by the Padres in the Wild Card Series in three games. On June 1, New York had a lead of 10.5 games, which ranks as the third-largest loss of a division lead in the annals of baseball history.
The Mets’ investment in Verlander, who CBS Sports ranked as the No.6 free agent pick, comes nearly a month after he received his third Cy Young Award. This was also his ninth appearance in the top five of Cy Young voting and sixth in the top two.
Verlander was the AL Cy Young Award runner-up in 2012, 2016, and 2018. He is the 11th pitcher in MLB history to have won the award three times. He is also the fourth pitcher from Houston to win the award, following Mike Scott (NL, 1986), Roger Clemens (NL, 2004), and left-hander Dallas Keuchel, according to The Dallas Express.