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New York Mets talk with Justin Verlander as MLB free agency heats up

Vincent Frank

The New York Mets could be down one former Cy Young winner in that of Jacob deGrom depending on how MLB free agency plays out. Perhaps, that’s one of the reasons they are being linked to reigning American League Cy Young winner Justin Verlander.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic noted in a recent report that the Mets have talked to Verlander about a potential move from Houston to the Big Apple.

Rosenthal reports that the two sides spoke via Zoom last week and cited several major league sources.

This shouldn’t be considered too much of a surprise. The Mets have been all over the market for starting pitchers. That includes Japanese sensation Kodai Senga. Meanwhile, deGrom has drawn interest from other big-market teams with an asking price that could meet the three-year, $130 million contract Max Scherzer is playing under with the Washington Nationals.

With that said, the Mets believe internally that deGrom will ultimately re-sign with the team should their offer come in close to others on the market. This makes Verlander a backup option.

Related: New York Mets’ Jacob deGrom and MLB’s top free agents

Justin Verlander as a fit for the New York Mets

new york mets interested in justin verlander
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It’s also being noted that Verlander is seeking the same type of deal as Scherzer. That would match the record for a MLB player on an annual basis. Under newish owner Steve Cohen, the Mets have not been afraid to spend money. In fact, they boasted the highest payroll in baseball at $287.11 million in 2022.

Re-signing closer Edwin Diaz on a record-breaking deal ahead of free agency will only add to that moving forward. As of right now, New York is projected to have a payroll of $184.67 million for next season. That’s roughly $100 million less than this past season with a ton of holes to fill throughout the roster.

  • Justin Verlander stats (2022): 18-4 record, 1.75 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 185 strikeouts in 175 innings

From a logical perspective, Verlander would be a fit for pretty much any contending team. He rebounded after missing all but one game over the past two seasons due to an elbow injury to remain his dominant self in 2022. Despite his advanced age of 39, Verlander isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

The interesting dynamic here is that deGrom himself has been injury-plagued over the past three seasons. That span has seen the two-time NL Cy Young winner start a combined 38 games.

As noted above, the New York Mets continue to be in on all the top-end starting pitchers on the MLB free agent market. It was reported earlier this month that they had early interest in Carlos Rodon of the San Francisco Giants.

That could make more sense than either Verlander or deGrom given the fact that Rodon, 29, is younger than his counterparts.

Either way, this is a major story to keep an eye on as the hot stove heats up in New York and around the baseball world.