Houston Astros Acquire Justin Verlander in Trade with NY Mets

Posted on: August 1, 2023, 03:40h.

Last updated on: August 1, 2023, 03:40h.

The Houston Astros Acquire Justin Verlander in Trade with the New York Mets

Justin Verlander
Justin Verlander, seen here pitching for the New York Mets, will return to the Houston Astros after his former team acquired him at the trade deadline. (Image: AP)

Justin Verlander, a three-time CY Young Award winner, has returned to the Houston Astros after being traded from the New York Mets. This trade is one of the most significant transactions leading up to the MLB trade deadline.

The Mets have sent outfielders Drew Gilbert and Ryan Clifford to the Astros to complete the Verlander trade. Gilbert is considered the top minor-league prospect for the Astros, while Clifford is ranked fourth in their farm system.

Multiple teams, including the Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds, and Tampa Bay Rays, had shown interest in acquiring Verlander. However, the Astros outbid all other suitors to secure the deal.

What Does this Trade Mean for the Mets?

Despite having one of the highest payrolls in baseball, the Mets have struggled this season with a 50-55 record and currently sit in fourth place in the NL East. They are six games out of the NL Wild Card, which currently has a highly competitive race with seven teams vying for three spots.

Instead of trying to salvage their season and potentially missing the postseason, Mets owner Steve Cohen made the decision to sell some of the team’s valuable assets.

While Mets general manager Billy Eppler denied a “fire sale,” the team has recently traded closer David Robertson to the Miami Marlins and pitcher Max Scherzer to the Texas Rangers. The trade involving Verlander further reinforces the Mets’ shift in focus towards long-term organizational development.

“I do want to be clear that it’s not a rebuild,’ said Eppler. ‘It’s not a fire sale. It’s not a liquidation. This is just a repurposing of Steve’s investment in the club, and kind of shifting that investment from the team into the organization.”

The Mets also traded outfielder Mark Canha to the Milwaukee Brewers in a separate deal.

While fans initially thought Verlander would stay with the Mets to help rebuild the team for next season, it is evident that no player, including the star right-handed pitcher, is off-limits for trades.

With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, fans are left wondering if other players on the Mets, such as outfielder Tommy Pham and pitcher Jose Quintana, will also be traded.

In recent discussions, the Mets entertained the idea of trading slugger Pete Alonso. However, as they did not receive suitable trade offers, Alonso was taken off the trading block.

Verlander’s Return to Houston

At the age of 40, Verlander is returning to the Astros after spending six seasons with the team. During his previous tenure with the Astros, Verlander led them to two World Series championships in 2017 and 2022. He also won the Cy Young Award for the third time in his career while playing for the Astros. Last season, Verlander posted impressive statistics with an 18-4 record, 1.75 ERA, and 0.83 WHIP.

This season, Verlander signed a two-year contract with the Mets worth $86.7 million. In 16 starts with the team, he achieved a 6-5 record, 3.15 ERA, and 1.14 WHIP.

Although Verlander had a difficult June, he bounced back in July, recording a 4-1 record. In his last three starts, he went 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA and limited opponents to a .167 batting average over 37-plus innings. Verlander also achieved his 250th career victory on Sunday against the Nationals.

Betting Opportunities after the Verlander Trade

The Astros aim to defend their title by bringing Verlander back into their roster. Currently, with a 60-47 record, the Astros hold the second-place position in the AL West.

The Astros are the sixth-best team in the MLB, and if the season were to end today, they would secure one of the three AL Wild Card berths. They are also in a tight race to win the AL West, trailing the first-place Texas Rangers by just half a game. The Rangers recently acquired Verlander’s teammate and close friend, Max Scherzer, to strengthen their postseason chances.

With +700 odds to win the 2023 World Series, the Astros are considered one of the top contenders for back-to-back championships. On DraftKings’ futures board, they are the third-highest team, behind the Atlanta Braves (+330) and Los Angeles Dodgers (+500).

According to the latest postseason projection by FanGraphs, the Astros have an 11.7% chance to win the World Series, the highest among all AL teams and third highest overall, trailing the Braves (23.8%) and Dodgers (13.1%).

In terms of winning the AL West, the Astros are the favorites with -130 odds. The Rangers are their closest competitors with +150 odds. According to FanGraphs, the Astros have a 58.1% chance to win the division, while the Rangers have a 33.9% chance.

In AL pennant futures, the Astros have become the new favorites with +340 odds, closely followed by the Tampa Bay Rays at +350 odds. The top five teams in these futures are the Baltimore Orioles (+500), Rangers (+600), and Toronto Blue Jays (+700).

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