Hope is starting to spring eternal for those fans of the New York Mets as the team were able to add some big names to the roster for the 2023 season.
On Wednesday the team announced that they were able to sign three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2011 American League Most Valuable Player Justin Verlander to a two-year contract. The deal runs through the 2024 season and includes a vesting option for 2025.
Verlander, 39, won a World Series championship with Houston last season and was a unanimous selection for his third career American League Cy Young Award. He led the major leagues with a career-best 1.75 ERA (34 ER/175.0 IP) and 0.83 WHIP and paced the AL with 18 wins. He was named an All-Star for the ninth time in his career and earned AL Comeback Player of the Year honors.
“Alex and I are delighted to welcome Justin, his wife, Kate, and their daughter into our Mets family,” Mets Owner, Chairman and CEO Steve Cohen said. “We feel a deep connection with his drive to succeed and we know Mets fans will love watching him pitch.”
The 17-year major league veteran finished the 2022 season ranked 12th all-time and first among active pitchers with 3,198 strikeouts. He is also the active leader in wins with 244 career victories.
“Justin Verlander is, by every standard, one of the game’s most accomplished players,” Mets General Manager Billy Eppler said. “I want to thank Steve and Alex Cohen for their continued commitment to bringing top-tier talent to New York. We are all looking forward to watching Justin author another chapter in the rich pitching history of this franchise.”
Verlander will be the eighth pitcher to suit up for the Mets after winning multiple Cy Young Awards. New York’s other multi-Cy winners include: Tom Seaver, Bret Saberhagen, Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez, Johan Santana, Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer. No other franchise has employed more than four multiple Cy Young Award-winning hurlers.
With Verlander and Scherzer, the 2023 Mets will be one of three teams in major league history to feature multiple three-time Cy Young Award winners on its roster in the same season (Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw on the 2021 Dodgers, Steve Carlton and Tom Seaver with the 1986 White Sox).
In 102 starts with Houston after joining the Astros in 2017, Verlander went 61-19 with a 2.26 ERA (164 ER/652.0 IP), winning two of his three Cy Young Awards. Since his Astros debut in September 2017, he leads the majors with a 0.83 WHIP, .184 opponent batting average and .763 winning percentage. His 2.26 ERA was the best mark in the AL from his Astros debut through the end of 2022.
A two-time world champion, the 2017 ALCS Most Valuable Player has more Postseason strikeouts (230) than any pitcher in major league history and ranks in the top five all-time in Postseason wins (16, second), starts (34, tied for third) and innings pitched (207.2, fourth). Verlander has pitched in five World Series, making a total of nine Fall Classic starts.
Verlander is one of just two players in major league history to be named Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year (2006), Cy Young (2011, 2019, 2022) and Most Valuable Player (2011), joining Don Newcombe. He won the pitching Triple Crown in 2011 en route to winning both the AL MVP and Cy Young Award. In 17 major league seasons with Detroit and Houston, Verlander is 244-133 in 482 starts with a 3.24 ERA (1,139 ER/3,163.0 IP).
Up next was the team announcing the signing of right-handed pitcher Zach Greene from the New York Yankees in the major league phase of the Rule 5 Draft.
Greene, 26, posted a perfect 9-0 record and a 3.42 ERA (26 ER/68.1 IP) while striking out 96 over 48 appearances (four starts) in 2022 with Scranton/Wilkes Barre, the Yankees Triple-A affiliate.
In three minor league seasons, the Jacksonville, Florida native has gone 14-8 with a 3.08 ERA (50 ER/146.0 IP) in 96 outings in the Yankees system. He has a 35 percent strikeout rate in the minor leagues, punching out 211 of the 595 batters he has faced. Greene was originally selected by New York (AL) in the eighth round of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of South Alabama.
Then to add to the pitching rotation the team added lefty pitcher Brooks Raley from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor league left-handed pitcher Keyshawn Askew.
Raley, 34, appeared in 60 games with the Rays last season. He went 1-2 with six saves and a 2.68 ERA (16 ER/53.2 IP) with 15 walks and 61 strikeouts. In 2022, he held left-handed hitters to a .155 (11-71) batting average with three walks and 25 strikeouts.
Over his major league career, lefties have hit .170 (37-218) against him with 13 walks and 86 strikeouts. Since returning from a five-year stint in Korea in 2020, left-handed hitters have gone 30-181 (.166) against Raley, good for the second-lowest opponent batting average vs. lefties in the majors over the last three seasons (min. 175 LHB faced).
Over the course of five major league seasons with the Chicago Cubs (2012-2013), Cincinnati Reds (2020), Houston Astros (2020-2021) and Rays (2022), he is 4-8 with nine saves, a 4.64 ERA (83 ER/161.0 IP) with 56 walks and 183 punchouts.
The southpaw spent five seasons with the Lotte Giants in the Korean Baseball Organization from 2015-2019, pitching to a 48-53 record in 152 games (151 starts) with a 4.13 ERA (418 ER /910.2 IP) with 271 walks and 755 strikeouts.
Raley graduated from Uvalde High School in Texas before attending Texas A&M. He was originally selected by Chicago Cubs in the sixth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
Askew, 22, was the Mets’ 10th-round selection in the 2021 First-Year Player Draft. In 22 appearances (nine starts) over two minor league seasons with New York, he was 7-0 with a 2.27 ERA (19 ER/75.1 IP).
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