August 17, 2022


Houston Astros right-hander Justin Verlander opened the month of August with a great start Thursday night against the Cleveland Guardians. He threw six stop runs, succumbed to two hits and issued one gait for five hits. The outing improved his season scores to 1.73 ERA (221 ERA +) and a 5.52 strike-to-walk ratio over 130 runs.

This last number happens to be a significant number. By crossing the 130-run threshold, Verlander launched a conditional $25 million option for the player in his contract that was tied to his workload – an incentive the Astros requested when they signed him last winter after rehabilitating him for an additional year from Tommy John surgery.

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“I wasn’t aiming for 130 rounds,” Verlander told reporters. Including “When we were making the contract, [Astros owner] Jim [Crane] He told me they wanted 130 rounds for my player option. I was asking for a live player option and they said they would like 130 rounds, and that was it. I thought that was a very reasonable number the way I like to put it.”

Verlander, 39, will have a choice this winter to return to the Astros for $25 million or decline and test free agency. It’s worth noting that Verlander can also turn down the option before reaching a new agreement with the Astros. Given his track record and performance this season, it would seem reasonable to believe that he could sign another one-year deal worth over $25 million.

The Astros, 69-38 on the season, will continue their four-game streak against the Guardian on Friday night. Houston’s 11-game lead in the Western National League is the largest in the league, although it lags behind the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 12-game lead in the Western National League for the largest in the major leagues.

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