Verlander reaches two-year deal with Mets (source)

December 5th, 2022 is keeping track of all the latest news and rumors surrounding right-hander , who is a free agent after declining his $25 million player option with the Astros for 2023.

Read all about Verlander here.

Dec. 5: Mets reach two-year deal with Verlander (source)
After losing Jacob deGrom to the Rangers in free agency on Friday night, the Mets are closing in on a two-year deal with Verlander, a source told's Anthony DiComo. More >

Dec. 5: Verlander has offers from multiple big-market clubs
Justin Verlander authored a truly remarkable season in 2022. He returned from a 20-month layoff at the age of 39 to win the AL Cy Young Award and his second World Series championship with the Astros. However, it's appearing more and more unlikely that Verlander's outstanding career will continue in Houston. Instead, he has reportedly received two-year offers from multiple big-market clubs.

MLB Network insider Jon Heyman presumes that the Mets and Dodgers are among that group, but a two-year contract might not be enough to land the right-hander. According to Heyman, "there are indications that a deal could be struck if any of these teams adds the third year."

While the Mets remain in play for many free-agent pitchers, Verlander is seen as their top choice following Jacob deGrom's decision to join the Rangers on a five-year contract. The Mets did make a three-year offer to deGrom, who is five years younger than Verlander. But if the Mets want to add a frontline starter from this current class of free agents, they may have no choice but to add that extra year in order to land the future Hall of Famer.

"Mets owner Steve Cohen is thought to be intrigued by the possible reunion of Verlander and his own ace pitcher Max Scherzer from their Detroit days," Heyman wrote. "At this point, there aren’t many other choices, anyway.

"Some still see the Dodgers as an even likelier destination, possibly since Verlander and his actress/model wife Kate Upton have a home in Los Angeles."

Sportsnet's Shi Davidi reported Sunday that the Blue Jays remain "engaged" with Verlander this winter after trying to sign him following the 2021 season, "although a deal for him may very well cut [Toronto] off from other significant moves."

As for the Astros, the team for whom Verlander has played since being dealt by Detroit in Aug. 2017, Heyman wrote that they "don’t seem inclined to go big to bring back Verlander and are concentrating on catcher and a corner outfielder." Furthermore, ESPN's Jesse Rogers reported Monday that a "majority of executives remain firm in their belief [Verlander will] leave the Astros."

Dec. 4: Blue Jays 'remain engaged with' Verlander after missing out last year (report)
The Blue Jays were reportedly pretty close to landing Verlander last offseason before the right-hander chose to re-sign with the Astros and went on to win his third career Cy Young Award. According to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi, Toronto "remains engaged with" the veteran right-hander, who will turn 40 in February but has continued to defy time with an MLB-best 1.75 ERA for the World Series champions last season. 

While the Jays have some other areas to address on their roster, signing Verlander would add the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner to a starting rotation that already features Alek Manoah (AL Cy Young Award finalist in 2022) and Kevin Gausman (AL-best 2.38 FIP and 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 2022). That could arguably be the best starting trio in the Majors and could help Toronto take the next step in trying to climb the ladder to the top of the AL East standings.

Dec. 4: Verlander is Mets' top priority (report)
In the wake of Jacob deGrom's departure from Queens, the Mets have cast a wide net over the free-agent pitching market in their efforts to rebuild their rotation. They reportedly met with Carlos Rodón earlier this week. They have shown interest in Kodai Senga, had discussions with Andrew Heaney, and tried to close a deal in recent days with Jameson Taillon, according to SNY's Andy Martino.

But one starter has become the Mets' top priority: Justin Verlander.

Verlander has been in the Mets' sights for some time, and Martino reports that the two sides continued talking Saturday. The 2022 AL Cy Young Award winner is said to be doing his own background research on the Mets' organization as well.

"Given the level of work on both sides, folks involved believe that Verlander will choose his next team sooner than later," Martino wrote. "Sources see the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers as the Mets' primary competition."

MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported Saturday that the Mets are in discussions with the top two starters remaining on the market -- Verlander and Rodón -- and “seem more intrigued” by Verlander. He pitched alongside current Mets ace Max Scherzer while both played for the Tigers from 2010-14.

Dec. 2: What does deGrom's big contract mean for Verlander?
With two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom joining the Rangers on a five-year, $185 million contract, what does that potentially mean for Verlander, who has been compared to deGrom in terms of dominance on the mound and contract potential given his age (he turns 40 in February)?

There was speculation that deGrom, given his recent injury history -- he was limited to only 26 combined starts from 2021-22 -- would receive a shorter-term/higher-average-annual-value deal, perhaps something in the neighborhood of three years and $120 million. But with deGrom getting a five-year deal, that could push the price up for Verlander, who is the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner after posting an MLB-best 1.75 ERA for the World Series champion Astros last season.

Nov. 29: Dodgers the frontrunners for Verlander?
While the Astros introduced free-agent addition José Abreu on Tuesday, owner Jim Crane shed some light on where the team stands with regards to Verlander, saying the Astros remain interested in re-signing him but that he personally hasn’t visited with the right-hander recently.

In the view of’s Jon Paul Morosi, Houston’s signing of Abreu is the latest signal that the club isn’t prioritizing Verlander on the free-agent market. With Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, Lance McCullers Jr., José Urquidy, Hunter Brown and Luis García in the fold, the Astros’ rotation is in good shape even without Verlander.

As a result, Morosi thinks the Dodgers are the most likely Verlander destination at this point. Verlander reportedly had a face-to-face meeting with the Dodgers on Monday.

“If the Astros had a real urgency to sign Verlander and a desperation, if you will, based on where their pitching staff stands, they could probably do it,” Morosi said Tuesday on MLB Network. “But they’ve chosen to spend now [nearly] $20 million per year on Abreu, and that’s money that they no longer have to allocate to their rotation. And they would probably tell you in a candid moment, Hunter Brown is ready to step forward, Urquidy is ready to step forward, García is ready to step forward and be part of a postseason rotation as he has in the past.

“Quite simply, their need for Verlander is less than the Dodgers’ need for Verlander. ... I believe the Dodgers have the best chance at this moment to sign Justin Verlander.”

Nov. 11: Will an AL West foe snatch Verlander?
While the World Series champion Astros will try to re-sign Verlander after he opted out of his contract, MLB Network's Jon Morosi points out that this is the potential future Hall of Famer's first shot at free agency coming off a full, healthy season. And while he is 39 years old, the right-hander is a strong contender to win his third Cy Young Award, which means he should have no shortage of suitors.

“It’s going to be a really interesting negotiation for a pitcher right now who seems ageless and is in no way, shape or form close to retirement," Morosi said during an appearance Friday on MLB Network's High Heat.

Morosi points out that the Braves and Yankees were two clubs who showed strong interest in Verlander a year ago -- despite the fact that he was coming back from Tommy John surgery at the time. Those teams figure to give Verlander a serious look again, but a couple of the Astros' AL West counterparts could be factors as well.

One of those clubs is the Rangers, who Morosi notes are expected to pursue nearly every major free agent starter, including Jacob deGrom. But Morosi identifies the Angels as the team to watch. If the Halos truly are intent on not trading Shohei Ohtani -- as GM Perry Minasian said recently -- then it would make sense for the club to bolster his supporting cast, especially with Ohtani's presence necessitating a six-man rotation.

"I think the Angels are a really intriguing landing spot for JV," Morosi said. "Think about that constellation of stars they would have there -- Verlander, Ohtani, (Mike) Trout, (Anthony) Rendon."

Nov. 10: Will Astros re-sign Verlander again?
Verlander is a free agent for the second straight offseason after declining his $25 million player option for 2023.

Astros owner Jim Crane said the club is trying to re-sign Verlander and has been in touch with the 39-year-old about a new contract.

When Verlander hit the open market last year, the Astros re-signed him for $25 million in 2022. But it’s likely going to take a much larger deal this time. Verlander was coming off Tommy John surgery in 2021, but he returned to the mound in 2022 and turned in a season that will likely earn him his third Cy Young Award.

Nov. 4: Can Yanks sign longtime nemesis?
Verlander has been a thorn in the Yankees’ side since his rookie season in 2006. Whether it’s been with the Tigers or the Astros, Verlander has faced the Yankees nine times in the postseason. He’s 5-1 with a 2.68 ERA and 68 strikeouts over 58 1/3 innings in those outings, and his teams are 6-0 in postseason series against New York.

The Yankees could have traded for the right-hander in 2017, but ownership was said to be unwilling to take on Verlander’s contract. The Astros were, and they swung a deal for the veteran that changed the course of history. 

New York was interested in signing Verlander when he reached free agency last offseason, reportedly offering him $25 million on a one-year deal. But Verlander ended up re-signing with the Astros for the same contract, plus a $25 million vesting option for 2023. That turned into a player option when Verlander reached 130 innings in 2022.

With Verlander likely to decline his option, the Yankees will have yet another chance to sign the 39-year-old. Writing for the New York Post, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman expects the Bronx Bombers to make a run at him this offseason, with the Dodgers also in the mix if he doesn’t re-sign with Houston again. 

That said, Verlander will be pricier this time. A year ago, he was coming off Tommy John surgery and had made just one start across the previous two seasons. After making a healthy return and putting together a season that could win him his third Cy Young Award, Verlander is expected to command a lucrative multiyear deal. The "outside expert" Heyman consulted for his story predicted a two-year, $75 million contract.

Oct. 5: Could Scherzer’s deal be a target for JV?
After making a successful return from Tommy John surgery at the age of 39, Verlander is all but guaranteed to become a free agent for the second straight offseason.

The right-hander has a $25 million player option with the Astros for 2023, but after leading the Majors with a 1.75 ERA over 175 innings -- thus becoming the second-oldest MLB ERA leader after a 42-year-old Roger Clemens in 2005 -- Verlander is likely to decline the option to seek a longer deal.

The three-year, $130 million contract Max Scherzer signed with the Mets in 2021 could be a framework for the type of contract Verlander will look for after 2022. Scherzer was 37 when he signed the deal, which includes an opt-out after two years.

Verlander’s free-agent stock is much improved compared to last offseason, and not only because he has reaffirmed his ace stature and proven his health. Verlander also won’t have any Draft-pick compensation attached to him this time, as he’s ineligible to receive a qualifying offer after Houston made him a QO a year ago.