The Houston Astros have finalized a two-year extension with ace pitcher Justin Verlander, the team announced on Sunday.
“Justin Verlander is one of the elite pitchers in baseball,” said general manager Jeff Luhnow in announcing the deal. “His late-season arrival in 2017 helped the Astros deliver its first ever championship to the city of Houston. Our fans share in my excitement that Justin will be in an Astros uniform for at least three more years.”
The extension adds two years and $66 million to Verlander’s current deal, which had one year remaining. It makes Verlander the highest-paid pitcher in terms of annual average value ($33 million).
Only outfielder Mike Trout, who will average nearly $36 million annually on his recently signed 12-year, $430 million deal, has a deal with a higher per-annum payout.
Verlander, 36, went 16-9 with a 2.52 ERA and an American League-leading 290 strikeouts in 34 starts last season, his first full season in Houston since coming over from Detroit in a trade in 2017.
Last season, the 2011 AL Cy Young winner finished second for the third time in voting for that award and was part of the top five for the seventh time. He also was the league Most Valuable Player in 2011.
Overall, Verlander is 21-9 in 39 starts with the Astros, posting a 2.32 ERA and striking out 333 batters in 248 innings. The Astros won the World Series in 2017 following the trade for Verlander.
The Astros already had reached extensions with All-Star third baseman Alex Bregman (six years, $100 million) and righty reliever Ryan Pressly (two years, $17.5 million) in the past few days.
Bregman, who turns 25 on Friday, finished fifth in the American League MVP voting last season after batting .286 with a league-high 51 doubles, 31 homers, 103 RBIs and 105 runs scored.
Pressley, 30, is under contract for $2.9 million in 2019 and would have been eligible for free agency after this season. The deal covers the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
—Field Level Media