Justin Verlander getting $25 million deal to run a World Series bid back with Houston

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Thursday, November 18, 2021
Justin Verlander enters Astros spring training with new role: dad
ABC13's Greg Bailey reports from West Palm Beach where Justin Verlander enters Astros spring training with a new title: dad.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Justin Verlander's arm was sorely missed in the Houston Astros' latest World Series run.

And now, the team appears they'll try to run it back with the two-time Cy Young Award winner returning to the rotation.

Sources tell ESPN's Jeff Passan that Verlander and the Astros have agreed to a one-year contract worth $25 million. The deal, which was first brought to the public by the right-handed starting pitcher's brother, Ben, includes a player option for the second year.

Editor's note: The video above is from a previous report that aired in 2019.

"IT'S OFFICIAL. @JustinVerlander is signing with Houston Astros!!" Ben Verlander, who is an MLB broadcast analyst, tweeted on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, the club announced Verlander and Carlos Correa, both free agents, declined qualifying offers to remain in Houston. The qualifying offers, typically one year in length, are procedural steps extended to MLB teams' free agents in the event they sign elsewhere.

Draft compensation would come back to the original team if a free agent departs.

Verlander became a free agent after completing a $94 million, three-year contract with the Astros. He played in just one game in the past two seasons.

He made just one start in 2020, pitching six innings on July 24 in a win over Seattle on opening day before being placed on the injured list with strained right forearm. He attempted a comeback after he was injured, but announced on Sept. 19, 2020 that he needed Tommy John surgery and underwent the procedure on Oct. 1.

He said earlier this year that his rehabilitation was going well and added that he hated that he only played one game in the time that deal covered.

"That gnaws at me," he said. "But ... this was an unfortunate injury that nobody could have seen coming. But I still do like to earn my keep."

The 38-year-old right-hander spent his first 13 seasons with the Detroit Tigers before being traded to the Astros on Aug. 31, 2017. His stellar performance after the late deal helped Houston to its first World Series title that season. He is 43-15 with a 2.45 ERA and 640 strikeouts in 74 starts for the Astros.

Verlander went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 2019, striking out a career-high 300 and throwing the third no-hitter of his career to win his second career Cy Young Award. He pitched 223 innings, most in the majors, and made six more starts in the postseason as the Astros reached the World Series.

Verlander is 226-129 with a 3.33 ERA in 16 seasons. Along with his Cy Young Awards and MVP award, he was also the 2006 AL Rookie of the Year. He has 3,013 strikeouts in his career, which ranks 19th all-time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.