SAN DIEGO – Sunday marked the return of the MLB winter meetings which were held in person for the first time since December 2019. Day one was relatively quiet. Baseball insiders, pundits, and organizational leaders spent most of the day exchanging pleasantries with one another while settling in at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, CA.
While the rumors are expected to heat up today, the Justin Verlander sweepstakes got hot late last night. MLB insider Hector Gomez shared a post from former big league infielder Carlos Baerga who reported that the New York Mets and the AL Cy Young award winner were nearing a monster deal.
Former MLB player Carlos Baerga reported on his IG account that Justin Verlander and the New York Mets are close to a 2-year, $86.8M deal with a mutual option for a 3rd year. pic.twitter.com/FJwJwW9zlu
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) December 5, 2022
Two years and $86.8 million comes out to a record $43.4 million per season. Usually, we take these types of rumors with a grain of salt. After all, it didn’t come from the likes of Jon Heyman, Ken Rosenthal, or Jeff Passan. Moreover, Gomez had a similar style report a year ago where he shared via Carlos Baerga that Freddie Freeman was on his way to Toronto.
Dodgers fans know that didn’t happen.
However, while it’s still encouraged to wait and see what the big guys have to say (or tweet) about when it comes to offseason rumors in baseball, given the timing of the report it seems like it could have some teeth.
Soon after Gomez’s tweet, Heyman wrote in a column that multiple teams had two year offers on the table to Verlander. Including the Mets and the Dodgers.
Remember, the Mets just lost staff ace Jacob deGrom to the Texas Rangers on Friday. And team owner Steven Cohen is itching to make another splash for the second straight winter.
Of course, the Dodgers are reportedly still in play for the veteran Verlander. MLB.com’s JP Morosi said last week that LA was the “most likely destination” for the right-hander. But that was before the Mets lost deGrom.
A two year deal is likely appealing to Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers. But committing $40 million-plus to a 40-year-old pitcher in an offseason where there’s a soft mandate to refrain from exceeding the luxury tax threshold for a third straight season might leave the door open just enough for the Mets to swoop in and overpay.
Verlander could be one of the first dominoes to fall at these winter meetings… and a deal could be coming any hour.
Verlander to the Mets looks like it’s happening.
Justin Verlander’s deal with the Mets is for two years and $86 million, per source. It includes a vesting third-year option. After losing Jacob deGrom, the Mets replace him with the American League Cy Young Award winner, who will be paired atop their rotation with Max Scherzer.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 5, 2022
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported the news Monday morning. The terms of two years and $86 million fall in line with what Baerga mentioned last night.