The Mets can catch a financial break with the Justin Verlander injury

Championship Series - Houston Astros v Texas Rangers - Game Five
Championship Series - Houston Astros v Texas Rangers - Game Five / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages

Houston Astros manager Joe Espada announced on Tuesday afternoon that starting pitcher Justin Verlander will start the 2024 campaign on the injured list. The righty hasn't had any setbacks, but he still needs more time to get prepared for the season.

"He's doing very well, but we're just running out of days here, and we won't be able to build him up enough to start the season," Espada told reporters. "It's just a timing issue. We want to do what's best for J.V. and for our club, and this is what's best for us right now."

How does this affect the Mets?

The New York Mets signed Verlander initially to a two-year, $86.6 million deal with a $35 million vesting option in the 2023 offseason. He only spent half a year with the team as things just did not go as expected and the Mets ended up sending him back to his former team, the Astros at the trade deadline.

Mets owner, Steve Cohen maximized the team's return by eating $52.2 million of Verlander's contract and would also be paying $17.5 million if the 3X Cy Young Award winner pitches 140 innings this year. This means that if Verlander is unable to reach that quota, the Mets would end up keeping that $17.5 million and end up saving that money for the future.

While this outcome would be ideal for the club, Verlander had similar issues just a season ago and despite missing the first month of play he still managed to total 162.1 innings. That was 94.1 innings with the Mets and 68 innings with the Astros.

So, it is safe to say that the Astros are not really concerned with Verlander starting the season on the IL and definitely expect him to take on his regular load once he is deemed ready to return to action.

The Astros want Verlander for the long run and want him to be healthy considering there is a lot of baseball to be played. Espada made this very clear by stating, "We need him for the long haul. It's a long season, and we need a healthy JV throughout the season."

Verlander will continue his process of getting ready for game action and plans on throwing a live bullpen on Friday. He will eventually get the option to face hitters and maybe get scheduled to pitch a few rehab assignments as well before a return is evident. Again this could be good for the Mets, but ultimately if Verlander views it as a "hiccup" then it is not anything to freak out over.