MLB trade regrade: Justin Verlander injury casts more doubt on Mets-Astros deal

Justin Verlander will start the season on the IL after another setback. Last summer's deal with the New York Mets suddenly looks like a mistake.

Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Six
Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Six / Bob Levey/GettyImages

The Houston Astros got some bad news on Tuesday morning.

According to new Astros manager Joe Espada, the three-time Cy Young will start the 2024 season on the injured list.

Verlander signed with the New York Mets prior to the 2023 season but was ultimately traded back to the Astros last year at the deadline. The Mets received minor league outfielders Drew Gilbert and Ryan Clifford in that deal.

This will mark the second consecutive year that Verlander will start the season on the injured list.

In this piece, we will re-examine last summer's trade with the Mets and how it has affected the Astros.

Revisiting the Mets-Astros Justin Verlander trade

Verlander reported to camp two weeks late because of a shoulder injury, though he threw a bullpen session on Sunday, tossing 60 pitches and even mixing in some sliders and changeups.

At the very least, the veteran right-hander has made progress. However, it's not enough progress for him to be ready for Opening Day, which is a huge blow for the Astros. Espada reported on Tuesday that Verlander will need more time to build up strength.

Obviously, when Verlander finally returns, the Astros rotation will get a significant boost. But given that Verlander has begun two consecutive seasons in the IL, it's safe to revisit the trade last summer with the Mets and discuss whether or not it was beneficial for the Astros.

The Astros surrendered two solid outfield prospects in the trade with the Mets.

Depending on how long Verlander is out, it's fair to question if the trade will work out for the Astros in the long run. Verlander is turning 41 soon and is in the latter stages of his career. He also will re-enter the free agent market this offseason if his vesting option for 2025 doesn't kick in.

As of now, the deal still looks pretty solid for the Astros, as Gilbert and Clifford have yet to reach the big leagues. But if Verlander is unable to remain consistent with his health, the deal may end up looking a little better for the Mets.

Regrade: Mets could win the Justin Verlander trade