Justin Verlander staying with Astros on $25 million deal

2 weeks ago

CHICAGO — So much for a reunion of Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander in The Bronx.

Less than an hour after Verlander rejected the Astros’ qualifying offer of one-year and $ 18.4 million, the two-time American League Cy Young Award winner’s brother Ben, a FOX Sports baseball analyst, reported that the 38-year-old had agreed to return to his most recent team.

The MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported that the contract will guarantee Verlander $ 50 million over two years, $ 25 million each season, although he can opt out after 2022.

The deal strikes a blow to the Yankees, who viewed Verlander as a potentially tantalizing addition to the front of their starting rotation, alongside his old Astros teammate Cole, leading a deep group that also features Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery, Jameson Taillon, Domingo German and Nestor Cortes Jr.

“I think you’d all agree you can never have enough starting pitching,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said Wednesday at the Major League Baseball owners’ meetings. “I think starting pitching is a need year after year.”

Justin Verlander pitches for the Astros.
Justin Verlander pitches for the Astros.
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Steinbrenner noted the past and ongoing health woes of Severino, German and Taillon in particular.

The transaction also hurts the Yankees by strengthening the Astros, the defending AL champions, who can slot Verlander atop their rotation after he missed nearly all of the past two seasons due to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

The free-agent market still features an excess of starting-pitching options, among them newly minted American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Kevin Gausman and Anthony DeSclafani.

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