The Houston Astros and ace Justin Verlander have agreed to a two-year contract extension worth $66 million. Mark Berman of Fox 26 was first to report a deal was done, and on Sunday the team announced the deal.
The deal reportedly includes no deferred money, which helps make this a record contract for a pitcher in terms of average annual value (i.e., annual salary):
There's a compelling case to be made that Verlander merits the AAV record. He has reinvented himself in recent years, and has been one of baseball's best pitchers since joining the Astros in 2017. Verlander has posted a 173 ERA+ and has struck out nearly eight batters for every walk issued in his 248 innings in Houston. Add in some high-quality postseason work, and it's no wonder why the Astros desired to keep Verlander in town.
Of course, the bigger story here is that yet another star player has re-upped with their current team rather than testing the open waters. Players, it seems, are afraid of being frozen out the way their peers have the past two winters. Consider that a negative indicator for the health of the game and a positive indicator that a work stoppage is likely forthcoming.