justin verlander mets astros rumor
Brad Penner | USA TODAY Sports

Mets starting pitcher Justin Verlander has seen his name thrown around in the trade rumor mill quite a bit recently. Will he go to the Dodgers? The Orioles? What about a reunion with the Astros? And once again, how about a reunion with the Astros?

After days of speculation, we finally have our answer. The Mets have sent their final veteran ace off to Houston. Lots of reporters were confirming the news, but who was first? That’d be USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale:

So, Verlander’s time in Queens was a lot shorter than expected. He began the year on the injured list before going 6-5 in 16 starts (94.1 innings). After an inconsistent beginning, JV settled in and produced a 3.15 ERA and 1.15 WHIP with 81 strikeouts.

The Mets are getting two of the Astros’ top prospects in return, both of whom are outfielders: Drew Gilbert and Ryan Clifford.

They’ll also be sending a total of about $54 million to Houston in the deal (if JV’s 2025 option vests).

As we’ve mentioned plenty of times, the Mets entered this year with championship aspirations. That’ll happen when you rack up a $350 million payroll bill (as well as $100-plus million in luxury tax penalties). A lot of the Mets’ 2023 fate rested on how far Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander could lead the rotation.

Between injuries, suspensions, and inconsistent performances, it never really came to fruition. Despite being within a stone’s throw of the final NL Wild Card spot, the front office hadn’t seen enough to keep the band together. We’re now seeing the result of that.

It’s hard for some teams to admit their huge gambles didn’t pay off (*cough* Brian Cashman *cough*). Even though this wasn’t a popular route, the Mets didn’t go halfway with it. That’s for sure. They just traded two future Hall of Famers — that’s not an activity for the faint of heart. Hopefully it pays off in the long run.

You can reach Matt Musico at matt.musico@xlmedia.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.