So much for that storybook ending. Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros are close to an agreement on a two-year contract extension, according to reports from just about every big baseball media person on the internet. The contract, per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, will be a two-year deal worth roughly $66 million, or $33 million per year.
The odds that Verlander would have returned to don a Detroit Tigers uniform in 2020 were already slim, but fans were hoping for a reunion for obvious reasons. Verlander has continued to dominate the rest of the American League, and is coming off a 16-9 season with a 2.52 ERA. That mark is his best since 2011, his MVP season with the Tigers. Meanwhile, advanced numbers like his 2.78 FIP, 7.84 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and 0.90 WHIP were all career-bests.
Verlander’s current contract, which will pay him $28 million this year, is set to expire after the 2019 season. He previously had a vesting option on his deal that would have kicked in for the 2020 season if he finished in the top-five of Cy Young voting in 2019, but that option was waived when Verlander agreed to the trade that sent him to Houston in 2017.
Further details of Verlander’s new contract are not yet available, but it does not appear to alter his current deal. The Tigers owe the Astros $8 million of Verlander’s salary in 2019 per the terms of their trade, and that amount is not likely to change. The verbage used by those reporting this deal on Twitter indicates that the new contract will be for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Verlander will be 38 years old for the entire 2021 season.