Justin Verlander has set his price

Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander knows what he wants for his next contract.

According to Brian McTaggert of MLB.com, Verlander is seeking a deal similar to the one Max Scherzer received from the Mets. Astros owner Jim Crane said Verlander was seeking a three-year contract worth $130 million and the team would “stay in the middle of that” in terms of negotiations.

Houston Astros know the cost of keeping Justin Verlander

There will always be a risk associated with signing a player with this type of contract. Verlander is seeking more than $43 million a year, a salary that could top the payroll of some of the league’s rebuilding teams. Add to that that he will be 40 to start next year and the risk increases.

But Verlander shows no signs of slowing down. Despite missing most of the last two seasons due to the pandemic and Tommy John surgery, he posted a major league best ERA of 1.75 and a WHiP of 0.829 over his 175 innings, striking out 185 batters with 29 walks. He is the favorite to win the AL Cy Young Award this season, another milestone in what has been a Hall of Fame career.

One could even argue that Verlander is a relatively safer option for this type of transaction. Since undergoing Tommy John surgery, his elbow should be healthier than a similar pitcher his age. A contract over $43 million is always a major risk, but it might not be a terrible deal for a pitcher like Verlander.

Based on Crane’s comments, it’s also clear that the type of asking price won’t scare the Astros off. Verlander has been a key part of their rotation since his acquisition from the Tigers, the staff ace who allows the rest of the throwing staff to come together. He is one of the greatest keys for the Astros this offseason, someone they simply couldn’t replace. $43 million may be quite reasonable in this case.

Justin Verlander is looking for a contract similar to the one Max Scherzer received. The Houston Astros know what it will cost to keep him on board.

Eleanor C. William