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How Justin Verlander's $25M Contract Impacts Astros' Payroll for 2022 Season

Doric SamNovember 17, 2021

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 14: Houston Astros pitcher, Justin Verlander (35) approaches the dugout during Astros Summer Camp at Minute Maid Park on Monday, July 14, 2020 in Houston, TX. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander is reportedly re-signing with the team, according to his brother and Fox Sports analyst Ben Verlander.

Ben also noted that Justin's contract is a one-year deal worth $25 million with a player option for a second year.

Per Spotrac, Houston's 2022 payroll currently stands at $120.55 million. That figure is set to jump once Verlander's reported deal is factored in.

Verlander was traded to Houston from the Detroit Tigers at the 2017 trade deadline. He made an immediate impact with a stellar performance during the team's playoff run, winning ALCS MVP and helping lead the Astros to the World Series title, the first and only championship of his career thus far.

The 38-year-old hasn't pitched a full season since 2019, which was the last time he won the AL Cy Young Award. Verlander pitched one game in 2020 but ended up getting shut down because of a forearm strain. He underwent Tommy John surgery that September and he missed the entire 2021 season while recovering.

The Astros tagged Verlander with an $18.4 million qualifying offer earlier this month and would have been entitled to draft pick compensation if he had chosen to sign elsewhere. The eight-time All-Star held a workout last week in front of scouts from multiple teams, including the New York Mets and New York Yankees.

Retaining Verlander is a boost to the Astros' starting pitching rotation. Starters Lance McCullers Jr., Framber Valdez and Luis Garcia each won at least 11 games last season and posted ERAs of 3.50 or below. Verlander will add depth and a veteran presence that Houston needs to maintain its status as contenders in the AL.

The Astros hope Verlander can return to the form that saw him throw 300 strikeouts with a 2.58 ERA in 223.0 innings two seasons ago.