Justin Verlander’s age is not a concern for the Mets

SAN DIEGO — The Mets have studied analytics and asked questions in assessing the likelihood of Justin Verlander continuing at a high level at age 40.

“The integrity of the tools and his stuff – that gives us a lot of confidence,” general manager Billy Eppler said Wednesday in officially announcing Verlander’s two-year deal with the club. “How he takes care of himself, understanding his regimen, some of the questions we asked him were how he takes care of his body and some of the things he’s learned over time. This man is a consummate professional. “

Verlander, 39, will make $86.6 million over the two years of his contract. The deal also includes a third-year option worth $35 million.

Last year’s American League Cy Young Award winner with Houston will carry the burden of replacing Jacob deGrom, who left for Texas last week with a five-year, $185 million contract. From Eppler’s perspective, the Mets lost one ace and gained another.

“Those are both really high-end, championship-caliber pitchers,” Eppler said. “I think we can count on one hand how many of these types of pitchers there are in the game now, so when you can catch one, and in our case, we feel like we have two. [including Max Scherzer]it’s very special.”

Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) in action
At age 39, Justin Verlander seems to have no problem scaring the Mets.
AP photo

Verlander and Scherzer spent five seasons together in the same rotation with the Tigers and, according to a person with knowledge of the dynamic, have competed because of strained relationships with each, but Eppler said he doesn’t expect the past to become an issue.

Eppler was asked if he talked to Scherzer before chasing Verlander.

“I talk to Max about a lot of acquisitions that we’re thinking about and a lot of things that we’re trying to do,” Eppler said. “These guys are championship level players and hungry to win.” We’re happy to put this 1-2 punch up.

Verlander’s recruitment began with a Zoom call and extended to another in which the pitcher had questions for the Mets.

“He wanted to know more about the organization and how we operate,” Eppler said. “He wanted to ask me a little bit about my thoughts and some ideas about how we’re going to fill out the roster. This guy is committed to winning.”

Eppler was asked if the addition of Verlander would deprive the Mets of other big-ticket prospects, including free agent Brandon Nimmo.

“The biggest dish here is Steve [Cohen] committed to winning,” Eppler said, referring to the Mets owner. “I’m grateful to work for him.”


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