MLB Breaking News Verlander Signs With The New York Mets

Just a few days ago, the Mets lost a 2x Cy Young Award winner in Jacob deGrom in free agency. Now, they replace him by one-upping him in the awards department by signing Justin Verlander, a 3x Cy Young Award Winner. The talk about the 2023 MLB free agency period has been that it's the most loaded one in years and now the richest owner in sports, Steve Cohen, gets his New York Mets a prized signing and gives him co-aces with Max Scherzer for the next two or three years in Queens. Now that he’s been signed, what is his fantasy baseball value going forward?

What is Justin Verlander’s Fantasy Baseball value in 2023?

There were serious questions as to what exactly Verlander would be in 2022 as a 39-year-old pitcher coming off of Tommy John surgery and having pitched just six innings in the last two years combined. He answered emphatically by winning the AL Cy Young Award — a third — with a stellar season. Even with the injury midseason, he posted 175 innings over 28 starts with a 1.75 ERA, 2.49 FIP, 3.09 SIERA, and a very good 27.8-percent K-rate. The stuff was all there, not only control- and break-wise but with velocity too. All of his four-pitch mix average velocity above or around his career averages for each weapon including a fastball averaging 95 mph for the first time since 2018. That’s all well and good but what is his value going forward now that he’s moved to the NL East? This is where things get interesting. The NL East, ballpark-wise is a more pitcher-friendly division than the AL West in terms of park factors. Keep in mind that, as was mentioned in the Jacob deGrom to the Texas Rangers write-up, four of the five AL West parks were in the top-14 in park factors — in terms of offense — last year. That’s not the case in the NL East with just two in the top-14 based on home runs. Offense-wise The Phillies and Braves are really the only threats, that he’ll be facing, and that gives us hope he can have a similarly dominate year in Queens in 2023. There are concerns about whether the Mets can keep their pitchers healthy given the long history of injuries they’ve racked up and, you know, Verlander going in to his age-40 season. Even with an expected regression in ERA, the K-rate, BB-rate, WHIP, and results should be about the same if not improved from 2022. That puts him as a top-3 fantasy pitcher for all formats in 2023.


Justin Verlander Signing Impact on the New York Mets

As soon as deGrom signed elsewhere, there were big questions about just how deep, and/or good, the Mets’ rotation would be going forward. Adding Verlander absolutely answers a ton of those questions. The rotation is now shaping up to be Verlander, Max Scherzer, Carlos Carrasco, Tylor Megil, and then likely David Peterson in the fifth spot assuming they don’t make another signing or trade. There’s no doubt that that 1-2-3 is arguably the best in baseball. In terms of morale though, this move goes a long way for the rest of the team as they realize that their owner is still willing to do whatever it takes to win even after losing deGrom and that should boost everyone’s performances. This signing also means not all of the pressure is on Max Scherzer with questions 3-5. Now it’s a co-ace situation with fewer questions 4-5.

Justin Verlander Signing Impact on the Houston Astros

Clearly, it’s easy to say that losing a Cy Young Award winning pitcher will be a blow to a team. However, the Astros are in a unique position to withstand the loss of an arm like Verlander and this may actually help them. The Astros’s rotation, as it sits, is Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, Lance McCullers, Luis García, and José Urquidy. All five posted ERAs under-4.00 last year with four of the five posting at least 25 starts in 2022. If that’s not enough, they have Hunter Brown, Forrest Whitley, Shawn Dubin, J.P. France, and even Tyler Ivey and Misael Tamarez at Triple-A Round Rock. That’s plenty of depth. Here’s the other thing too. While they’ve already signed José Abreu to take over at first base, the savings of not signing Verlander does mean they can continue to add another outfield bat or perhaps even more bullpen help. It’s a unique situation where a team can lose a stud like Verlander and not really take a step back. 

How does the Justin Verlander Signing Impact Other Free Agent Pitchers

The Verlander signing is unique. Both the years, two years with a vesting third year option, and the AAV, reported to be similar to that of Max Scherzer from last year, are only really pertinent to him. As in, this signing won’t likely set the market for any of the other free agent starters who are still available since no one else left is of the ilk of Verlander or deGrom. Just look at the Clayton Kershaw signing of one-year and $20 million by the Dodgers as an example of this. What it does mean though is that there are few key arms available on the market. Talk of Chris Bassitt wanting in the neighborhood of a four-year deal is likely what others still out there like Taijuan Walker, Carlos Rodón, and Sean Manaea are looking for. Especially Rodon who is now the only bonafide ace left on the market. He’s likely the biggest beneficiary of this signing.


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