Ace pitcher and three-time Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander might be wearing a Mets jersey next season according to new reports from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The Mets had one of their best seasons in decades in 2022 but still fell short of winning the division thanks to some late-season heroics from the five-time NL East champions, the Atlanta Braves.
It’s clear that the Mets are now looking to spend as much as it takes to get out in front of their division rivals. Case in point: they might be paying Verlander big bucks to replace their ace Jacob DeGrom, who they lost to free agency at the end of the 2022 season.
Verlander is an incomparable force on the mound. He had the lowest ERA in the Majors in the 2022 season and helped lead the Astros to a World Series win. His numbers illustrate how dominant he’s been with all of his pitches. The 40-year-old pitcher went 18-4 in 2022 and put up an unbelievable 1.75 ERA.
Moreover, he posted a lights-out 185 strikeouts in his 28 starts this season. He was central to the Astro’s success and helped cement the team as the newest baseball dynasty. Now, he’s likely to do the same thing in New York.
The Mets got a taste of greatness, posting a 101-win season and coming within a single game of beating their hated rivals in the division race for the first time in years. With DeGrom leaving the team to pursue free agency, the Mets have been scrambling to find another ace to pair with Max Scherzer at the top of their rotation.
Verlander would fit the bill. Like DeGrom, he’s a veteran pitcher with serious depth and durability. He’s got several pitches that can land for strikes, and he’s known for getting batters to expand the zone. He also went six or more innings in 22 of his starts this year, the kind of deep performance that can really push a team over the edge.
The question now will be how much the Mets want to spend in the off-season. The team has already committed to a massive payroll, one of the largest in the MLB, so it will be interesting to see how much over the luxury tax cap they want to go to keep pursuing a division crown. For now, the Braves continue to loom large in the NL East.