The New York Mets and Justin Verlander agreed to a massive two-year contract in MLB free agency on Monday. The 39-year-old is set to make the move out to Queens after having won the World Series in a career year with the Houston Astros in 2022. Astros manager Dusty Baker got brutally honest on the departure of the 2022 Cy Young winner, calling it “a pleasure” to have managed Verlander, via Bob Nightengale.

“I learned a lot from Justin,” said Baker. “I’ll miss him. He’s a man.”

It won’t just be Baker who is missing Verlander. The Astros will be shaken up by the loss of their superstar hurler, who bounced back after two injury-riddled seasons to throw one of the best campaigns of his career.

Justin Verlander had pitched just six innings from 2020-21 while dealing with injuries. There were some concerns that his career could be at its curtain call, but he silenced any doubters with a historic season in 2022, in which he won virtually all the hardware he could get his hands on.

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In 2022, Verlander recorded a 1.75 ERA across 28 starts. He had an 18-4 record with 185 strikeouts in 175 innings, walking just 29 batters. The Cy Young winner latched on with the New York Mets on Monday on a two-year, $86 million deal, which could potentially reach three years in total. The Mets added Verlander to the rotation in the aftermath of losing Jacob deGrom to the Texas Rangers.

It’s a massive payday for Verlander, and one the Astros were never realistically going to consider matching. Baker was classy in regards to Verlander’s exit, wishing the 39-year-old well and thinking back fondly to his time managing the nine-time All-Star.