The Houston Astros and veteran pitcher Justin Verlander have agreed to a one-year, $25 million deal with a player option for the 2023 season.
The deal was initially reported by Ben Verlander, the right-hander’s brother and an MLB analyst for FOX Sports.
USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale adds that the option is also worth $25 million, meaning Verlander could earn $50 million over the next two seasons.
Houston #Astros owner Jim Crane always remained aggressive that he could bring back Justin Verlander, knowing it would take more than one year, so the $25 million player option in 2023 made it happen. So it’s 2 years, $50 million if Verlander pitches in 2023.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 17, 2021
Verlander, who will be 39 next season, missed all of 2021 and most of 2020 due to Tommy John surgery. Still, when healthy, the former first-round pick is one of the best in the game. He’s a former Rookie of the Year, MVP, five-time Pitcher of the Month, two-time Cy Young award winner, and eight-time All-Star. He is also a World Series champion who possesses an ALCS MVP trophy from 2017.
Back in 2019, which was his last full season, Verlander appeared in 34 games. He finished 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, and .172 OBA while walking 42 batters and striking out 300. That same year, he threw two complete games and even tossed a shutout. According to Baseball Savant’s percentile rankings pictured below, he also finished among the top-11 percentile in 10 different major pitching categories.
A 16-year MLB veteran, Verlander was drafted second overall by the Detroit Tigers back in 2004. He spent more than a decade in Michigan before being traded to the Astros in 2017. Since turning pro, the Old Dominion product has earned roughly $275 million in on-field salary.
Verlander returns to a Houston rotation that features Lance McCullers Jr., Luis Garcia, and Framber Valdez. Although all three impressed this past season, there is no doubt that Verlander will slot into the rotation as the team’s ace.