|Citi Field, with the Tom Seaver statue greeting fans. Photo by Jason Schott.|
The Mets made two key pitching moves on Wednesday, as they signed free agent veteran left-handed starter Jose Quintana and traded for left-handed reliever Brooks Raley from the Tampa Bay Rays. They also made the signing of Cy Young winner Justin Verlander official on Wednesday night.
QUINTANA: The Mets signed veteran left-handed starter Jose Quintana to a two-year, $26 million contract. Just as they took no time to bring in Verlander to replace Jacob deGrom, who departed for the Texas Rangers last Friday, Quintana was brought in just hours after the Mets lost starter Taijuan Walker to the rival Philadelphia Phillies.
The Mets rotation as it stands now will go as follows: Max Scherzer, who will be entering his second year in Queens; Justin Verlander, who's coming off a Cy Young seasonn; Jose Quintana, who finished last season in St. Louis; Carlos Carrasco whom they resigned this offseason; and Tylor Megill, who had a fine season in the rotation filling in for deGrom.
Quintana has spent most of his career in Chicago, as he pitched for the White Sox from 2012-17, and was traded midway through the 2017 season to the Cubs, where he pitched until 2020. He went to the Angels in 2021 before a midseason trade to the San Francisco Giants, and last season, he was with the Pittsburgh Pirates before joining St. Louis for the stretch run.
The 33-year old has won 13 games three times, in 2016 with the ChiSox and in 2018 and '19 with the Cubs. His career record is 89-87 with a 3.75 ERA (earned run average), with 1,532 strikeouts in 1,723 2/3 innings pitched, giving him a strikeout per nine inning rate of 8.0.
RALEY: The Mets acquired one of the best left-handed relief pitchers in the Major Leagues, Brooks Raley, from the Tampa Bay Rays for minor league left-handed pitcher Keyshawn Askew.
Raley had a solid 2022 season for Tampa Bay, as he appeared in 60 games, and went 1-2 with six saves and a 2.68 ERA, as he allowed just 16 runs in 53.2 innings pitched, with 15 walks and 61 strikeouts. He held left-handed hitters to a .155 (11-for-71) batting average with three walks and 25 strikeouts.
The 34-year-old has had an interesting career, in that he pitched for the Chicago Cubs in 2012 and '13 and then didn't pitch in the Majors again until he joined the Cincinnati Reds in 2020. He was traded to the Houston Astros in the middle of the '20 season, and also pitched there in 2021 before spending last season with Tampa Bay. His career record is 4-8 with nine saves, a 4.68 ERA (83 earned runs in 161.0 IP) with 56 walks and 183 strikeouts.
The gap in his Major League tenure was largely spent with the Lotte Giants in the Korean Baseball Organization from 2015 through 2019. He pitched in 152 games, 151 of which were starts, and had a 48-53 record, with a 4.13 ERA (418 ER in 910.2 IP), and he had 271 walks and 755 strikeouts.
VERLANDER: The Mets announced Wednesday night that their signing of reining American League Cy Young winner Justin Verlander was official, after it was revealed Monday that he would be coming to New York.
This past season, with the Houston Astros, Verlander went 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA, with 185 strikeouts in 175 innings pitched, and a WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) of just 0.667, as he allowed just 116 hits and walked 29. This Cy Young-winning season came after Verlander missed the 2021 season after he had Tommy John surgery.
Verlander also got his second ring with the Astros in 2022, and he got his first win in a World Series game, as he won Game 5 to give them a 3-2 lead over the Philadelphia Phillies before they clinched it in the next game.
Mets Owner, Chairman, and CEO Steve Cohen said in a statement, "Alex and I are delighted to welcome Justin, his wife, Kate, and their daughter into our Mets family. We feel a deep connection with his drive to succeed and we know Mets fans will love watching him pitch."
Mets General Manager Billy Eppler said, "Justin Verlander is, by every standard, one of the game's most accomplished players. I want to thank Steve and Alex Cohen for their commitment to bringing top-tier talent to New York. We are all looking forward to watching Justin author another chapter in the rich pitching history of this franchise."
Verlander will be the eighth pitcher to play for the Mets after winning multiple Cy Young Awards. The seven others are, in chronological order for when they were with the Mets, Tom Seaver, Bret Saberhagen, Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez, Johan Santana, Jacob deGrom, and Max Scherzer. No other franchise has had more than four multiple Cy Young Award-winning hurlers.