The New York Mets had potentially four starting pitchers headed into free agency this winter. They picked up the option on Carlos Carrasco, leaving them with only him and Max Scherzer when free agency began.
Early November was all about whether or not Jacob deGrom would stick around. He was one of the big movers and shakers in free agency this offseason. He even signed before the Winter Meetings began. It just wasn’t with the Mets.
The team did successfully find three free agent starters to replace deGrom, Chris Bassitt, and Taijuan Walker. Now that the free agent pool of starting pitchers has mostly dried up, we can more accurately grade the players the Mets did add. Do they barely pass or do they make an appearance on the honor roll?
1) NY Mets grade for signing Justin Verlander: A
It was the obvious move for the Mets to make. A short-term deal with Justin Verlander at a high AAV would give them the most similar production to what they needed from deGrom. Tacking on the third year with an option made this a better choice although the main purpose of signing Verlander is to get the job done in 2023.
Verlander is coming off of a Cy Young campaign with the Houston Astros. He might not be quite as excellent for the Mets this year. That’s fine. He doesn’t need to have a sub-2.00 ERA in order to be a success. He needs to help get them through the year and, more importantly, show up in the postseason.
The Mets did have to give him the biggest AAV of any free agent this offseason, but I’d say it was a better option than going long-term with Carlos Rodon. Something about his track record seems like he’ll miss a full season at some point during the deal he got with the New York Yankees.
Verlander is only visiting the Mets briefly. He’s exactly what they need with Scherzer around, too.