Houston Astros: Securing Justin Verlander’s extension now is the right move

Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander (Photo by Joe Sargent/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander (Photo by Joe Sargent/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

The Houston Astros are reportedly in discussions with Justin Verlander to extend his stay with the team. How much and likely when will it be inked? Look.

The Houston Astros will commence their season in less than a week and they’ve wasted no time in securing a contract extension for Alex Bregman — a five-year, $100 million extension — which would be highly-regarded as one of the team’s greatest sons.  Right now, that title belongs to Jose Altuve but the rise of Bregs will certainly have him carry the torch when Altuve decides to hang it up.

That will still be a long time from now but it’s good to know that the Houston Astros have multiple faces of the franchise and not the placeholders like this team had through those rough multiple seasons of triple-digit losses.

The Houston Astros are walking stoutly through this new era, accentuated with the World Series championship that they secured back in 2017.  This team has the tools to contend for a long time and it’s only going to get better.

But now that World Series hangover has fully dissipated, the team can just focus on winning another title rather than the immense pressure of trying to win one back-to-back, which hasn’t been done this century and last done by the New York Yankees.  That was during their string of uber-dominance back in the mid- to late-1990s.  I was a kid; and yes, the images of Derek Jeter making plays left and right along with Joe Torre prancing the outer edges of the dugout still ring true to this day.

One of the key components of ensuring this team has the tools to compete would be trying to coax Justin Verlander to pitch a bit longer.  Although he’s headed toward the twilight of his career, his production remains strong and it wouldn’t hurt having him around at least two more seasons.

That’s exactly what the Houston Astros are currently discussing.

Brian McTaggart of MLB.com is reporting that a two-year deal could be in the works in upwards of about $60 million, which is certainly more than I anticipated that he’d get for an offer.

McTaggart also said that a pact likely won’t be finished until the end of Spring Training which is set for this Sunday before things shift into full throttle for the 2019 season.

I personally thought that the Houston Astros were going to offer somewhere around $20 million per season for a $40 million deal but it’s apparent that Jim Crane has deeper pockets this season and is definitely ready to open his wallet a bit.  Those numbers wouldn’t get the needle moving as would $30M per.

In comparison to the Yanks or the Red Sox, the team’s spending is still meager but it’s a lot of

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money to us as a lot of these players aren’t used to seeing all of this money being thrown at them.  There will be a few multi-millionaires on this team after the dust settles over the next few seasons.

But to say Verlander doesn’t deserve a pay raise would certainly be an asinine statement.  Without JV, the Houston Astros don’t win the World Series and that’s a fact, Jack.  He’ll forever be a part of Houston Astros‘ royalty, even though his stay with the team won’t be as elongated as some of his counterparts.

What’s there not to say about Verlander?  At age 36, he was runner-up for this past season’s AL Cy Young Award behind Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell.

In 2018, Justin tossed more strikeouts (290) than any other pitcher in the AL, he was 1st in WHIP (0.90), situational wins saved (4.0), SO/BB (7.838), games started (34) and his first All-Star nod since 2013. That’s a hell of a resume if you ask me so I’m at the proverbial dinner table and I want seconds!

I’m confident that a deal will get done and it’s going to be awesome to have No. 35 on the bump for the Houston Astros a bit longer.

Get your popcorn ready!

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Verlander posted a 16-9 record, a 2.52 ERA with a 2.78 FIP and 12.2 K/9 through 214.0 innings pitched last season.