MLB rumors: New team enters the Justin Verlander sweepstakes

While the Houston Astros would prefer to re-sign Justin Verlander, there’s no guarantee he stays with the World Series champs. The Mets have entered the picture.

After opting out of his previous two-year engagement with Houston, Justin Verlander’s asking price is said to be above $40 million. There’s little guarantee that Astros owner Jim Crane will match that demand, so Verlander is at least doing his due diligence to seek employment elsewhere.

Enter the New York Mets.

Steve Cohen’s front office must have a backup plan just in case Jacob deGrom leaves in free agency. deGrom is also expected to command north of $40 million. It’s important to note Max Scherzer also makes $43 million atop the Mets rotation.

Justin Verlander rumors: Mets enter the equation

Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required), “The Mets, dealing with several holes in their rotation, including the possible loss of ace right-hander Jacob deGrom, spoke with Verlander by Zoom last week, according to major-league sources.”

Plenty of ‘meetings’ happen during free agency. They don’t necessarily mean said player will head to that destination. In this case, however, the Mets are clearly a fit for Verlander.

New York has the money to afford a pitcher of his caliber, and certainly will need to fill the deGrom-sized hole on their roster that will come should he sign elsewhere. The likes of the Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers are both interested in deGrom.

It would be an insult to fans if the Mets didn’t have a backup plan of some sort. Verlander is older than deGrom, but may come on a short-term contract given his age. That would work to Cohen’s favor, as it lines of quite well with Scherzer’s contract and New York’s competitive window.

Verlander won the AL Cy Young last season, pitching to an 18-4 record, paired with a 1.75 ERA and .829 WHIP. He led the league in all of those categories.

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