New York Mets, Justin Verlander reach agreement

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. He won Game 5 in Philadelphia for the first World Series victory of his illustrious career, then became a free agent this month.

After losing Jacob deGrom via free agency, the Mets will pair Verlander atop their rotation with Max Scherzer.

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 contributed to this report.

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