MLB Trade Deadline Talk, Part II
OK, this might end up being a touch shorter because today’s a travel day (hello, New York City!), and I’m writing on the fly. But here are some Part II takeaways from the trade deadline!
The Astros Win Because the Astros Always Win
I want you to think about the Astros and Justin Verlander for a moment. From the trade deadline in 2017 through 2022, Verlander pitched in Houston and he went 61-19 with a 2.30 ERA, he won two Cy Young Awards, almost won a third, was a difference-maker down the stretch in their first World Series run of 2017, and he had an absolutely absurd 0.840 WHIP and a better than 7-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
It’s hard to be a lot better than that.
But at the end of the 2022 season, he became a free agent, and while the Astros undoubtedly wanted to sign him, they had to know that financially they were outgunned. Sure enough, the New York Mets came in and signed him to a two-year deal at more than $43 million per season.
It seemed in that moment that the Astros had lost out.
But what you have to understand is that the modern-day Astros — they don’t lose. Ever. Everything works out for them in the end because, for whatever reason, the world seems to rotate specifically for them. Since 2017, they have reached the American League Championship Series every year, they have taken four pennants, they have won two World Series, they have survived a cheating scandal and they have continuously gotten better.
On Tuesday, Justin Verlander came back to the Astros … because of course he did. It cost them a top prospect, Drew Gilbert, who is being called a Brett Gardner type, only he’s smaller than Brett Gardner. I’m not sure that “he could be a smaller Brett Gardner!” is the most exciting scouting report ever given, but he could certainly be a good player, and the Astros threw in a high-risk, high-upside power hitter, too.
For this, the Mets not only traded Justin Verlander back to the Astros … they agreed to pay $35 million of his contract and another $17.5 million in 2025 if his option vests).
In other words,