One Window Closes, Another One Opens
Mets launch 1A/1B 2.0...
Image credit: Chris Simon
With one New York Mets legend packing his bags for the biggest little ballpark in Texas this past weekend, the breeze of change carried another titan of the game, 39-year-old Justin Verlander, directly into that orange-and-blue gap at a cool $86 million over two seasons with a vesting option for 2025.
These Mets don’t seem to be all too concerned with price tags anymore, huh? Hooray for the holiday spirit!
Yes, on the surface that is a huuuuge chunk of change for a player nearly on the wrong side of 40. But when your club’s coming off an embarrassing NL Wild Card ousting, losing the NL East despite winning 101 games in the process, and your 1A quietly packs up his things and hits the road in the middle of the night, you simply gotta adjust. Plus, Justin Verlander is no ordinary 39-year-old.
The Mets’ decision-making contingent of general manager Billy Eppler and his front office staff (plus Steve Cohen’s considerable cash cache) had no choice but to pivot aggressively upon Jacob deGrom’s hasty exit.
And, as has been the modus operandi for this organization pretty much since Cohen took over, they pounced virtually without hesitation, pairing two of the most dominating pitchers in modern baseball history together. Again.
Verlander and Max Scherzer, who spent four seasons together with the Detroit Tigers from 2010 through 2014, are officially running it back in Flushing for one last shot at glory. Well, at least for while before Max can opt out of his contract at the end of the season or AARP begins sending them both weekly correspondence.
Jokes aside, even at such an advanced age, it’s not like Verlander (or Scherzer, for that matter) has given any indication that he’s slowing down.
I don't have my figures in front of me, but there aren’t too many pitchers—regardless of how many respective trips they’ve taken around the sun—putting up a 1.75 ERA with 0.83 WHIP the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The third career AL Cy Young Award he locked up this November was pretty much just icing on the cake.
Where the Mets move next—pitching wise—is anyone’s guess. Carlos Carrasco is already confirmed in the mix, but there are still starters that must be added from the (including but not limited to) pool of Andrew Heaney, Jameson Taillon, Michael Wacha, Johnny Cueto, etc, or even potential returns from Chris Bassitt or Taijuan Walker.
Nothing against Tylor Megill, David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi, Elieser Hernandez, et al, but if the New York Mets want to continue on the riveting trajectory they found themselves in in Year One of Billy & Buck’s Wild Ride, one would assume there’s more work to be done.
Atlanta’s uber-talented youth movement is already plainly evident. Gotta keep up with them. Add Trea Turner joining forces with Bryce Harper in Philadephia for the next decade-plus (over $1B total spent by Phillies owner John Middleton since signing Harper), and the graffiti on the wall is making it abundantly clear to all parties involved that the Mets’ road will not be getting any smoother anytime soon.
Pedal to the metal season, friends. This team has some ground to cover.
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