Justin Verlander’s New York Mets career has ended after four months, while his Houston Astros career is resuming after five-and-a-half years.
The Mets continued their trade deadline fire sale on Tuesday by trading the former MVP to the Astros, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
Verlander joined the Mets last winter on a two-year, $86.7 million contract in free agency after 5.5 years with the Houston Astros. That deal matched the MLB-record average annual value of Verlander’s former teammate Max Scherzer, who signed a three-year, $130 million contract following the 2021 season.
Now, both Verlander and Scherzer are on the way out. The Mets began their sale Thursday by trading closer David Robertson to the Miami Marlins, a move that led to Scherzer telling reporters Friday that he wanted to speak with team brass about the team’s future. Less than a day later, Scherzer was on the way out via a trade with the Texas Rangers.
Verlander pitched Sunday in New York and received a standing ovation from the home fans. He also admitted that the Scherzer trade changed things for him with the Mets.
The Mets had plenty of reason to embrace selling at this year’s deadline, most notably because they entered Tuesday with a 50-55 record and sitting six games back from the third and final NL wild-card spot. This year’s market is notably lacking in quality starting pitchers, allowing the Mets to offload the two highest-paid players in baseball and receive an impressive return in prospects for a farm system that needed them.
In his first — and now only — season with the Mets, the 40-year-old Verlander holds a 3.24 ERA, 1.146 WHIP and 76 strikeouts in 89 innings across 15 starts. He missed the first month of the season due to a low-grade teres major strain in his shoulder but hasn’t missed a start since.
Those numbers are a slight step back from the performance that won Verlander two Cy Young Awards in Houston, but they still made him one of the best options available for buyers at this year’s deadline.