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Mets deal 3-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander back to Astros

KANSAS CITY — Justin Verlander is going back to the Houston Astros.

The Mets have traded the right-hander back to Houston hours ahead of Tuesday’s 6 p.m. ET trade deadline, the team announced. The Mets are getting a pair of highly-touted outfielders in return, Drew Gilbert and Ryan Clifford.

The 40-year-old three-time Cy Young Award-winning Verlander signed a two-year, $86.66 million deal with the Mets as a free agent during the winter meetings in December. The contract also carries a vested option for a third season worth $35.33 million. His signing with the Mets solidified them as bonafide contenders in the National League, but that status didn’t last long.

Verlander pitched well in 16 starts with the Mets, going 6-2 with a 3.15 ERA, but the veteran ace looked like a different version of himself than the one who won a Cy Young Award and a World Series with the Astros last season. He started the season on the injured list with a teres major strain in his right shoulder and he struggled with inconsistencies from start to start. However, he turned a corner in recent outings.

He made his final start for the Mets on Sunday against the Washington Nationals, allowing one earned run over 5 1/3 innings before coming out to an ovation from the Citi Field crowd. It was his fourth straight win and his final one in New York.

Verlander possessed no-trade protection and had the final say in any trade.

According to MLB Pipeline, Gilbert, 22, is the Astros’ top-rated prospect in the organization. A Minnesota native, he went to the College World Series with Tennessee in 2021 and was drafted in the first round (28th overall) in 2022. He’s currently playing in Double-A.

Clifford, 19, was drafted in the 11th round in 2022 out of Crossroads FLEX High School in Cary, North Carolina and is currently in High-A.

The Mets have shifted their priority from winning in 2023 and 2024 to stocking their farm system and getting younger. Since Thursday, the Mets have traded closer David Robertson, right-hander Max Scherzer, outfielder Mark Canha and now Verlander. The club traded Eduardo Escobar to the Los Angeles Angels in June. In return, the Mets have received Gilbert, Clifford, infielder/outfielder Luisangel Acuña, shortstop Marco Vargas, catcher Ronald Hernandez, and right-handers Justin Jarvis, Coleman Crow and Landon Marceaux.

Verlander spent more than four seasons with the Astros after being traded from the Detroit Tigers during the 2017 season. He went on to help the team win World Series titles in 2017 and 2022 and will now be added to the rotation to help them try to defend that title.


Source: Berkshire mont

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