In November, his phone rang. The owner of the Mets was on the phone.
It wasn't a baseball call, that's for sure. It was just 'Steve'. You're a person by the name ofJustin. The pitcher said that he wanted to get to know you a bit.
The contract was finalized two days later.
At the news conference, the three-time Cy Young Award winner was introduced. Jacob deGrom left the New York Mets to sign a five-year contract with the Texas Rangers.
Billy Eppler said he expected the pool and pingpong games to take on another level with the addition of another hyper competitive player.
New York has boosted its luxury tax payroll to about $360 million next year and is on course for a record tax of $85 million.
The Mets have committed almost half a billion dollars to seven free agents. They added two starting pitchers, retained a center fielder, signed a relief pitcher, and reached an agreement with a catcher.
We talked about letting winning drive the decisions and putting the best team on the field. Future comes up a lot with some of the conversations we had. It was important that we were able to put a club together that we felt good about.
Verlander said he was given a heads up.
The 39-year-old right-handed pitcher said that the process gave him an insight into how Steve views the organization. He wants to know people that are involved in this thing, and what more could you ask for as a player?
Verlander knew the Mets were waiting for a decision by deGrom, who was hurt for much of the last two seasons.
He's an icon here in the stadium and for the organization. I don't think it was right for me to make that decision before he did.
Verlander said that he had taken a leap of faith.
Verlander's wife, model Kate, sat in a front-row seat with their daughter, and watched the pitcher put on a Mets jersey.
The nine-time All-Star said that Billy has a vision, knows the team and what puzzle pieces are best for the complete puzzle. Some of those pieces are expensive.
The Mets were not comfortable with the length of deGrom's contract, but Eppler said it was in line with their timelines.
After interviewing him and getting a sense of how he takes care of his body, we were comfortable doing that.
After returning from Tommy John surgery in September 2020, Verlander went 18-4 with a major league-low 1.75 earned run average in 28 starts for the Astros and raised his career record to 241-133. His second World Series ring was earned as Houston beat Philadelphia in six games to win the World Series.
Verlander is guaranteed $43,333,333 in each of the next two seasons, the same amount as Scherzer. There is a $35 million player option for 2020.
He said that he liked the vibe of New York because of the time he spent with his girlfriend.
I had that time when I lived here, when I was able to get to know the city better, and I'm so thankful that I did that.
Verlander said he continues to pitch because of what a bad example it would be for his daughter to retire, having come back from core muscle surgery in January of last year.
He wanted to know why he would put in all that time and effort and sacrifice and still not get what he wanted. "Running a marathon and stopping a mile from the finish line is the same thing." I'm not sure if I'm close to the finish line.