Justin Verlander 'very excited' for Mets chapter of MLB career

Dec 20, 2022; NY, NY, U.S.A.; New York Mets pitcher Justin Verlander buttons his jersey throughout his initial interview at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-U.S.A. TODAY Sports / © Brad Penner-U.S.A. TODAY Sports

Justin Verlander‘s 2022 AL Cy Young approval speech at Saturday’s New York Baseball Writers’ Association of America awards supper began with a good touch and seek to the nine-time All-Star RHP’s Mets future.

Verlander, whom the Mets signed Dec. 7 to a two-year agreement for $86.7 million, thanked New York supervisor Buck Showalter in addition to owner Steve Cohen and his partner Alex as the next chapter waits for the previous Detroit Tiger (2005-17) and Houston Astro (2017-22).

“Thank you, Buck, for the kind words,” Verlander stated, through MLB Network. “I’ve had the pleasure of playing for some great, Hall of Fame managers in my career and I really look forward to having the opportunity to play for — in my opinion — another one, so thank you.

“I’m really thrilled to begin this next chapter of my profession with the Mets also. Thank you to Steven and Alex Cohen for bringing me here to New York.”

Verlander, who turns 40 on Feb. 20, won the aforementioned Cy Young — his third overall — after serving as the ace of the World Series-champion Astros’ starting rotation this past season.

In 28 regular-season starts over 175 IP for 2022, he went 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA and 10.5 K/9.

At his introductory news conference Dec. 20, Verlander cited Cohen and Showalter for why he signed with the Mets.

“From the start, I believe Steve and (GM) Billy (Eppler) connected really early on and revealed their interest,” Verlander said. “And I had a charming discussion with Steve in the very first week approximately of my complimentary company, and we truly didn’t talk much about baseball. It was more being familiar with one another, and it provided me such a favorable ambiance for what his vision of this franchise is, which he wishes to make this franchise incredible.

“To follow that up, speaking with Billy and the rest of the staff — Buck — they all share that same vision and passion to do whatever is necessary to make this a championship-caliber organization again. And really, that’s what it came down to for me was wanting to be a part of this vision moving forward. And obviously this organization took a gigantic step forward last year, had a great season. I think it’s only going to continue in the right direction.”

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