Justin Verlander offers high praise of Mets organization following trade to Astros

New York Mets starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) follows through on a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Citi Field
New York Mets starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) follows through on a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Citi Field / Brad Penner – USA Today Sports

When Justin Verlander signed with the Mets on a two-year, $86 million deal this offseason, he never would’ve expected just a few months later he’d end up back in Houston playing for the Astros.

However, with the Mets greatly underperforming they ultimately decided it was time to shift gears. New York, of course, became deadline sellers and the right-hander was sent back to his old team in exchange for a pair of top prospects.

Speaking with the media for the first time since the trade Thursday afternoon, Verlander admitted it’s definitely a strange feeling to be back so soon.

“It feels a little weird, it’s a really odd feeling,” he said. “I haven’t really come to terms with it, I don’t think anybody saw this coming. You commit to a team and trying to win a championship there and that’s your vision, you’re all in.

“A few months later your back with the team you were with last season. I feel like I was just starting to get settled in the city and my apartment and my family was really getting used to things there.”

Verlander was just one of the many pieces the Mets decided to sell off ahead of the deadline. The others include David Robertson, Tommy Pham, Mark Canha, Dominic Leone, and most notably Max Scherzer.

With New York ultimately deciding to turn their attention towards the future, the right-hander knew he had no choice but to decide to entertain the idea of being moved elsewhere.

“After I had some conversations with Billy [Eppler] and Steve [Cohen] about their plans for next season, I entertained the idea of a trade and waiving my no-trade clause,” he said. “It went similar to Max’s conversation, just the gist of how this year was going and next year had shifted a bit.

“They’re more focused on a couple of years, ’25 or ’26. It would be great to hear if I was a Met for longer term, but with me only signing for a guaranteed two years it definitely changes things a little bit.”

While that shift in focus is expected to change New York’s approach in free agency a bit this offseason, Verlander sees no reason why this team can’t be “highly competitive” next year.

“The direction I was told for next year, I was told was it wasn’t going to be the exact same MO as this year, which was fill every single need with a free agent,” he said. «That didn’t quite work out so why double down on that strategy.

«If I was looking at it through their lens you look at the players they have earmarked for next season, Edwin Diaz coming back, and the same core returning. I don’t see why they wouldn’t think they would be competitive.»

And while it was a short stay, Verlander did take some time to reflect on his time in New York. The 18-year veteran said he has nothing but the “utmost respect” for Cohen and the entire organization.

«I have a ton of respect for them and what they’re all about,» he said. «How they treat their players is A+ from top to bottom. Anybody that would ask me about that organization, if they had a decision to make, I would recommend their organization.

«Just because it didn’t work out on the field this year doesn’t mean it won’t work out in the future,» Verlander continued. «I wish them, the Mets, and the fanbase nothing but the best.»


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