The New York Mets, who are spending big in their quest to win the World Series, didn’t ignore the 2022-2023 free agent market. They signed Justin Verlander, 40, to bolster their starting rotation.

The signing of Jacob deGrom (Texas) went badly, and when deGrom wanted a long-term deal of three years or more, the Mets turned to Plan B. It was clear that they needed a quality pitcher to win a championship. Verlander was the perfect fit for the Mets. He was older, but his performance last year was so good. He was coveted by everyone.

After undergoing Tommy John surgery to repair his elbow ligaments in 2020, Verlander skipped all of 2021 and returned last year. His rookie season was so good that he won his third career Cy Young Award, going 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA in 175 innings pitched in 28 games despite the burdensome elbow surgery he underwent in his late 30s.

The Mets were convinced, and gave Verlander two years and $86.6 million guaranteed. The annualized average was tied with Max Scherzer for 안전놀이터 the most in major league pitching history. They even included a $35 million option for 2025 if Verlander pitched 140 or more innings in 2024.

However, Verlander is off to a rough start to the season. A pre-season right arm muscle injury kept him off the opening day roster, and his performance since returning has been questionable.

In his first five games of the season, Verlander is 2-2 with a 4.80 ERA in 30 innings pitched. That’s not the kind of performance you’d expect from the highest-paid pitcher of all time. From 2018 to last year, Verlander never had a WHIP above 1.00, but this year that number has risen to 1.10, and his batting average (.237) is higher than last year’s (.186).

On top of that, he’s giving up more than twice as many home runs per nine innings as he did last year (0.62 to 1.50). He’s given up more home runs with runners in scoring position, causing irreparable damage.

It’s only been five games, but his velocity has dropped and he’s failing to manage his bat speed. Both his average velocity and hard-hit percentage are up from last year. His average batted ball velocity is in the bottom 30% of the majors, and his hard hit rate is in the bottom 21%. This first five-game stretch is certainly an odd one given his past performance. Last year, he was in the top 35% in batted ball velocity and the top 20% in strikeout rate.

The Mets need him to stabilize so they can keep their rotation strong. The Mets didn’t just sign Verlander for the regular season, they were also hoping for an ace in the postseason. With his current pitching, it’s hard to see him performing well in the postseason against the best teams. It will be interesting to see if the 40-year-old veteran can pick up the pace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.