Three-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander has agreed to a two-year, $86 million deal with the New York Mets, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Monday.
The deal includes a vesting third-year option, a source told ESPN.
Verlander, who turns 40 in February, returned from Tommy John surgery to lead the Houston Astros to their second World Series championship in 2022. He had the lowest ERA in the majors and was a unanimous winner of his third Cy Young Award — becoming the first player to earn the prize after not pitching in the previous season.
He went 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA and 185 strikeouts in 28 starts this past season and made his ninth All-Star team. Verlander won Game 5 in Philadelphia for the first World Series victory of his illustrious career, then became a free agent in November after opting out of the $25 million salary he would have earned in 2023.
After losing two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom to the Texas Rangers via free agency, the Mets now will pair Verlander atop their rotation with Max Scherzer, who is also a three-time Cy Young Award winner.
It will be the first time that Verlander pitches a full season in the National League after spending with career with the Astros and Detroit Tigers, where he pitched for his first 13 seasons.
The veteran made four starts against the NL East last season, not giving up a single earned run in 25 innings pitched. For his career, he has a 2.14 ERA against the NL East, which is his best against any division, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Verlander made only one start in 2020 because of his elbow injury and missed the entire 2021 season while recovering from surgery.
This season, he led the American League in wins and led the majors in both ERA and WHIP, fronting a deep Astros pitching staff that helped secure a championship. His ERA was the best by a pitcher who made a minimum of 25 starts in his age-39-or-older season since earned runs became official in 1913, and it was the lowest by an AL pitcher in a full season — at any age — since Pedro Martinez had a 1.74 ERA in 2000.
Verlander completed at least six innings in 22 of his 28 starts and accumulated 175 innings during the regular season, striking out 185 batters and walking only 29. He also became the second non-rookie ever to make a minimum of 15 starts and post a sub-2.00 ERA despite not pitching in the majors the previous season, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
The Associated Press and ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez contributed to this report.
New York Mets, Justin Verlander reach agreement