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Astros reunite With Justin Verlander before trade deadline

Last season, one of the best pitchers in Astros history, Justin Verlander, left Houston for New York City in free agency after a Cy Young season, posting a 1.75 ERA and 18 Wins when the Astros could not meet his high salary expectations. Earlier this month, the Mets traded Verlander back to the Astros for outfield prospects Ryan Clifford and Drew Gilbert. Gilbert in particular was the best batter the Astros had on their Double A Affiliate team, batting .276 in 344 at-bats in 2023.

The Astros have one of the best rotations in baseball, but have recently been dismantled by injuries to All-Star Lance McCullers Jr. and consistent pitchers Luis Garcia and Jose Urquidy, creating a need for another strong pitcher in the lineup.

At the 2017 trade deadline, the Astros received Verlander from the Detroit Tigers. During his five years in Houston, he recorded a 61-19 record, 2 Cy Young Awards, and a sub 2.30 ERA. He missed almost the entire 2021 season after having Tommy John surgery, and had one of the best years of his career after a miraculous recovery.

Opting out of his 2023 player option with the Astros, he signed with the New York Mets on December 5, 2022. With the Mets, Verlander had a 6-5 record with a 3.15 ERA and was reportedly unhappy with the organization, which pushed Verlander to waive a no-trade clause on August 1, and he was traded back to the Astros.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the New York Mets will pay $35 million for the future Hall of Famers 2023-2024 contract and half of the 2024-2025 contract.The new starting pitcher lineup includes Verlander, 2x All-Star Framber Valdez, Jose

Urquidy, second year player Hunter Brown, Christian Javier, and rookie JP France, although France could be moved to the bullpen so the Astros could go with a 5 man rotation.

In Verlander’s first start in an Astros uniform in almost 8 months, he pitched seven innings and giving up 2 runs in a loss to the Yankees. He looked solid in his return, but gave up the winning home run to Jake Bauers in the bottom of the 5th inning.

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William Zwerneman
William Zwerneman, Staff Writer
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