Houston Astros right-handed pitcher Justin Verlander and the World Series Champions are still “far apart” in MLB free agency talks, according to New York Post MLB columnist Jon Heyman.
A deep pitching rotation and pessimism surrounding Justin Verlander may prove costly to the Astros’ ability to resign the right-handed pitcher in free agency, said Heyman.
“Quietly, (the Astros) prefer not to sign him for three years,” one source told the New York Post. “Verlander was great in-season but they carried him in the postseason.”
“No one (in Houston) wants to go three years,” another source added.
Verlander is asking for $130 million for three years, matching a deal to keep 38-year-old Max Scherzer on the New York Mets in late 2021 and make him the oldest player in league history to sign a $100 million contract in the MLB’s free agency period. Scherzer’s deal includes an opt out clause after 2023, a full no trade clause, and incentives for winning MVP, the Cy Young award and World Series MVP, among others, according to Spotrac.
Mets owner Steve Cohen called Scherzer before he signed his historic deal, convincing the eight-time All Star that he would do whatever it took to aid in the effort to earn the Mets a World Series for the first time since 1986.
“You don’t hear that from owners too much these days,” Scherzer said in a late-2021 interview. “When you hear an owner wants to do what it takes to win, obviously that piqued my interest.”
The news comes just days after the Astros signed Chicago White Sox first baseman José Abreu to a three-year, $58 million deal, adding further depth to a team that made its fourth World Series appearance in six years last season. The Astros have nine players with a payroll salary on their roster, spending just over a combined $78.6 million on the team’s three starting basemen.