Mets' Updated Rotation, Payroll After Reported Justin Verlander Contract

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 5, 2022

Baseball: World Series: Houston Astros Justin Verlander (35) in action, pitching vs Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Game 5. Philadelphia, PA 11/3/2022 CREDIT: Erick W. Rasco (Photo by Erick W. Rasco/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images) (Set Number: X164226 TK1)
Set Number: X164226 TK1

The New York Mets wasted no time replacing Jacob deGrom in the starting rotation, signing Justin Verlander to a two-year, $86 million deal with a third-year option, per Jon Heyman of the New York Post.

The Mets already had the highest payroll in MLB at $184.7 million, per Spotrac, but the latest deal creates a massive cost under the league's luxury tax:

Spotrac @spotrac

Justin Verlander + Max Scherzer + Francisco Lindor = $120M of tax salary, 51% of the $233M threshold this year.<br><br>The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Mets?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Mets</a> new 40-man season opening tax projection sits at $287M.<a href="https://t.co/dYc44nFPEv">https://t.co/dYc44nFPEv</a>

It also sets up an exciting starting rotation led by two of the best pitchers of their generation:

  1. Max Scherzer
  2. Justin Verlander
  3. Carlos Carrasco
  4. David Peterson
  5. Tylor Megill

Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reported the Mets plan to add another starting pitcher this offseason.

The Mets had work to do to rebuild the starting rotation after deGrom signed a five-year, $185 million deal with the Texas Rangers. The two-time Cy Young winner had spent his entire nine-year career with the organization before opting out of his contract this offseason.

Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker, who finished first and second on the team in innings pitched last year, are also free agents. Re-signing one or both of these players would help shore up the back of the rotation.

New York is still in good shape at the top of the rotation with Max Scherzer and Verlander.

Scherzer, 38, has won three Cy Young awards and posted a 2.29 ERA in 23 starts during his first year with the Mets last season. Verlander, 39, won his third Cy Young this past season with the Houston Astros, tallying an 18-4 record with a 1.75 ERA and 0.829 WHIP before helping his team win the World Series.

Even with both approaching 40 years old, the future Hall of Famers have proved they can still get it done on the mound.

Carlos Carrasco bounced back from a rough 2021 with a solid showing last year, totaling a 3.97 ERA in 29 starts. Consistency was an issue, but his 2.94 ERA in 14 starts after July 1 should provide plenty of momentum going into 2023.

David Peterson also proved to be a trustworthy option last year with a 3.83 ERA in 28 appearances (19 starts). The 2017 first-round draft pick should have a spot in the rotation going into April after spending significant time in the bullpen in 2022.

There are more question marks about Tylor Megill, who went 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA in April before a biceps injury derailed his season. He finished the year with a 5.13 ERA and could be forced to prove himself before guaranteeing a starting role next year.

Elieser Hernández, who made 10 starts for the Miami Marlins last season, could be another option after coming over in a trade last month. José Butto, the team's No. 15 prospect on MLB.com, should also get an opportunity after reaching the majors last season.