Jacob deGrom is gone and soon to be 40 year-old and future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander is here. It makes sense for the Mets and it took a few days of planning for Verlander to iron out a two year deal of $86 million with a vesting option for a third.
In fact, this is perfect from all standards considering Verlander and Max Scherzer reunite as a formidable and veteran one-two punch in the Mets pitching rotation. It could be better than the duo of Scherzer and deGrom.
I don’t question the Mets initial offer to deGrom. It was the right move.
Importantly, though, as Mets fans have come to know, owner Steve Cohen and GM Billy Eppler were not sitting idle. They are in to win, a completely different strategy and philosophy of the Wilpon owned Mets.
Any backlash of deGrom leaving New York for a lucrative deal in Texas is in the past.
Realize, though, the Mets don’t get younger here with a combined 78 years of age of Verlander and Scherzer with five Cy Young Awards to the mound. Yes, the usual consensus is a team more conducive to building a solid rotation with a stable of younger and hard throwing arms.
The Marlins are enriched with a young and strong starting rotation and teams look at their pitching as a valued commodity, one example of a franchise that can win with pitching as they seek additions to a lineup that has difficulty scoring runs.
The Marlins are holding on to sought after pitcher NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara, but Pablo Lopez, and Jesus Luzardo may be available.
But the Mets, this is another situation of winning now as they lack what the Marlins have with pitching depth. They will patiently await the development of prospects, though very few become a deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, part of a 2015 World Series Mets team that included Zack Wheeler.
They were a focal point and destined to lead a young and strong Mets pitching rotation to more winning baseball in October. I previously wrote on these pages that Cohen and Eppler are far from done. Another bat in the lineup, adding more to the rotation, and bullpen additions are on the agenda.
But Justin Verlander is now and this made sense for the Mets, with a contract that is equivalent to Scherzer in annual salary. Perhaps deGrom, as speculated, no longer wanted to pitch in New York and his lasting legacy was not significant in his decision to anchor the Rangers pitching rotation.
However, the addition of Verlander has once again changed the complexion of a Mets rotation, for the better that also includes another veteran Carlos Carrasco, who may have some question marks.
Though, with Verlander who still throws a viable fastball and slider, the Mets filled that obvious void.
A veteran scout at the Winter Meetings informed me this is not a risk for the Mets. He cited the numbers of a Major League leading 1.75 ERA in 28 starts and leading the league in wins that led to a third American League Cy Young Award.
He said the Astros were not concerned about Verlander electing to test free agency and missing the 2021 season after Tommy John Surgery was an afterthought. Verlander got stronger with the exception of fastball velocity dipping to 95, then again that is expected from a soon to be 40-year old pitcher.
But with any high profile contract, whether it be a pitcher or coveted position player, there are risks. The Mets here got two years and Verlander with the Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and MVP awards would need 19 wins during this contract to record that milestone 300th career win.
And he is destined to be an eventual first time Hall of Famer. Now, though, it’s not about the Hall of Fame. This is about Justin Verlander and the Mets, something that was not in the calling cards in October.
But it became a Mets calling card and made sense when Jacob deGrom opened the door for Steve Cohen to have $40 million more to spend.
Rich Mancuso: [email protected] Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso. Watch “Sports With Rich” with Rich and Robert Rizzo Tuesday evening live 8pmET on the SLG Network and YouTube