Justin Verlander, top Mets replacement after Jacob deGrom signs Rangers contract | News, Results, Highlights, Stats and Rumours

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The New York Mets need to fill another spot in their starting rotation after Jacob deGrom went into free agency for the Texas Rangers on Friday on a five-year, $185 million deal, per ESPN Jeff Passan.

The 2023 rotation should look very different from last year’s group with deGrom gone and right-handers Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker also free agents.

Mets owner Steve Cohen isn’t shy about spending, however, as evidenced by the team’s projected opening-day 2023 league salary total of $235 million.

A few notable pitchers remain in the free-agent market, and that list starts with reigning American League Cy Young winner Justin Verlander.

Per Andy Martino from SNY, Verlander is now “front and center” for the Mets.

The nine-time All-Star and surefire Hall of Famer went 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 185 strikeouts in 175.0 innings for the Houston Astros en route to a World Series win last year. It was an incredible effort for the 39-year-old, who came back after missing almost entirely the last two seasons due to Tommy John’s surgery.

Verlander now looks better than ever. His 2.49 FIP was the best mark of his career, according to Baseball Reference. He has now also won the AL Cy Young in his last two full seasons and arguably could have won again in 2018 before finishing second to Blake Snell.

However, he’s not the only top pitcher for New York to pursue. Per Bob Nightingale from United States todaythe Mets are also “turning their attention” to free-agent left-hander Carlos Rodón, who just went 14-8 for the San Francisco Giants with a 2.88 ERA and 237 strikeouts in 178 innings.

Rodón, who turns 30 on December 10, was scheduled to play against the Mets this week, according to Martino. He’s set to make big bucks after ditching his Giants deal. The Mets would obviously have competition for him, with the Crosstown Yankees especially in the mix, per Jon Heyman of New York Post.

Those are the top two options for the front end of the rotation alongside ace Max Scherzer.

New York can also track Kodai Senga, who moves to MLB after dominating with Nippon Professional Baseball’s Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.

The 29-year-old right-hander won 11-6 last year with a 1.89 ERA and 159 strikeouts in 148 innings. The Athletic’s Will Sammon reported on Nov. 17 that Senga had spoken to the Mets.

“Some who have explored Senga have been impressed with a triple-digit-capable fastball coupled with a tumbling splinter,” Sammon wrote in part. “The knock on him is he probably needs to develop a third pitch or breaking ball better.”

New York could also re-sign Bassitt, who has done well as the team’s No. 3 starter. He went 15-9 with a 3.42 ERA in 2022. Bassitt, who is entering his season at the age of 34, finished in the top 10 in the AL Cy Young voting with the Oakland Athletics in 2020 and 2021.

Ultimately, the Mets should plant themselves squarely in the starting pitcher market after Friday’s news.

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