New York Mets

New York Mets trade Justin Verlander to Houston Astros

The 40-year-old pitcher left the Astros as a free agent last winter to sign a two-year deal with the Mets

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Justin Verlander’s stay in New York was a brief one.

The New York Mets traded the 40-year-old pitcher to the Houston Astros prior to Tuesday's MLB trade deadline, sending Verlander back to the team he previously spent five-plus seasons with.

The Mets received outfielders Drew Gilbert, the Astros' top-ranked prospect, and Ryan Clifford in the deal.

Verlander left the Astros as a free agent last offseason to sign a two-year, $86.7 million contract with the Mets, joining a team that had the largest annual payroll in the history of North American professional sports at over $350 million. The Mets will be responsible for the majority of Verlander's salary over the course of the deal, paying $35 million this season and next season according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Mets will also pay half of Verlander's $35 million vesting player option for 2025, which will be triggered if he pitches 140 innings in 2024.

Verlander, who was sidelined for the first month of the season with a low-grade teres major strain in his shoulder, went 6-5 with a 3.15 ERA in 16 starts for the Mets. In his final start for the team on Sunday, he recorded the 250th win of his career and left the mound at Citi Field to a standing ovation.

That proved to be the end of his brief stint in New York, with the Mets continuing a deadline reset after producing a disappointing 50-55 record.

Verlander, who was a member of the Astros from 2017 to 2022, went 61-19 with a 2.26 ERA during that stretch. He won two Cy Youngs while with the team, helping the Astros win the World Series in 2017 and 2022. He returns to an Astros team that is competing for an AL West title at 60-47, currently sitting a half game behind the Texas Rangers.

That means the two roughly 40-year-old aces who opened the season in the Mets' rotation are now division rivals. The team dealt Max Scherzer to the Rangers on Saturday in exchange for 21-year-old shortstop/center fielder Luisangel Acuna. The Mets have also traded closer David Robertson to the Miami Marlins and outfielder Mark Canha to the Milwaukee Brewers in recent days.

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