What’s holding back Justin Verlander contract with Dodgers, Mets

Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers are in a fight for AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, and what’s holding back a deal is quite simple.

Justin Verlander responded to the critics who assumed he wouldn’t be the same post-Tommy John surgery, winning a World Series with the Houston Astros thanks in part to a record regular season. JV’s sub-2 ERA was enough to persuade him to opt out of his contract, and test free agency yet again as he nears the age of 40.

Verlander isn’t afraid of short-term offers, which some players shy away from. The lack of a guarantee beyond, say, two or three years isn’t ideal for younger players. As for JV, he knows that tomorrow is no guarantee at this point in his career.

While Houston has taken a step back in negotiations for now, as their rotation is a relative strength, the Mets and Dodgers are in an arms race for his services.

Why Mets, Dodgers haven’t signed Justin Verlander yet

New York and Los Angeles definitely have the money to afford Justin Verlander. The Mets, in particular, need front of the rotation pitching, as they lost Jacob deGrom to the Texas Rangers last week.

Verlander is just a year removed from Tommy John surgery, but they were willing to pay deGrom $40 million per season, who also struggles with injuries year after year. In Texas, he’ll make over $1 million per start, and that’s assuming he makes over 35 appearances.

JV would want a deal similar to what deGrom was offered, but the Mets and Dodgers don’t want to go over two years. Verlander is holding out for three years, hence the gap at the moment.

As simple as it is, it appears the first team willing to go to three years, or perhaps a third-year option, will win out on the AL Cy Young winner.

Feels like a worthwhile bet, no?

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