Justin Verlander joins New York Mets on big-money deal, rejoins ex-Tigers ace Max Scherzer

Detroit Free Press

SAN DIEGO — The New York Mets struck first at MLB’s Winter Meetings with the blockbuster signing of three-time Cy Young winner Justin Verlander.

Verlander signed a two-year, $86 million contract with a vesting option for 2025, a baseball official with direct knowledge of the deal told USA TODAY Sports. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity since the deal is not yet finalized.

The deal reunites Verlander with co-ace Max Scherzer, who played together with the Detroit Tigers, and who live in Jupiter, Florida, in the offseason.

The Mets signed Scherzer to a three-year, $130 million contract a year ago.

After losing Jacob deGrom to the Texas Rangers in free agency last week, the Mets turned their attention to the future Hall of Famer.

Verlander, 39, leads all active pitchers with 244 wins and 3,198 strikeouts over his 18 MLB seasons, all of them in the American League.

He is coming off a stellar late-career run with the Houston Astros — a team he joined at the 2017 trade deadline and helped lead to a pair of World Series titles.

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In three full seasons with the Astros, Verlander finished second, first and first in the AL Cy Young balloting. This year, he led the league with 18 wins and a microscopic 1.75 ERA, the lowest by an AL pitcher in a full season since Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez in 2000.

Even more impressive is that he did it after pitching a total of six innings in 2020 and 2021 due to elbow issues and his recovery from Tommy John surgery. However, Verlander came back as strong as ever this year and finally got the first World Series win of his career — gutting out five innings of one-run ball in a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 5 of the Fall Classic.

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