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What Helped Justin Verlander Decide to Join New York Mets

Find out what went into Justin Verlander's decision to join the Mets.
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Justin Verlander signed a lucrative two-year, $86 million deal with the New York Mets this offseason.

But it wasn't just about the money.

According to Verlander, a significant factor in his decision to join the Mets came from conversations he had with team owner Steve Cohen.

"From the beginning, I think Steve and Billy reached out very early on and expressed their interest," Verlander said after his press conference at Citi Field. "And I had a lovely conversation with Steve in the first week or so of my free agency, and we really didn't talk much about baseball. It was more getting to know one another, and it gave me such a positive vibe for what his vision of this franchise is, and that he wants to make this franchise amazing.

"To follow that up, speaking with Billy and the rest of the staff -- Buck (Showalter) -- they all share that same vision and passion to do whatever is necessary to make this a championship-caliber organization again. And really, that's what it came down to for me was wanting to be a part of this vision moving forward. And obviously this organization took a gigantic step forward last year, had a great season. I think it's only going to continue in the right direction."

Before signing with the Mets, Verlander asked Eppler how the team planned to go about filling various holes on their roster.

When Verlander signed, bringing back Edwin Diaz was the only other move the Mets had made so far, which is why the three-time Cy Young Award winner said he made a "leap of faith" to sign with the New York early in the free agent process.

After signing Verlander, the Mets held up their end of the bargain, adding Brandon Nimmo, Jose Quintana, Brooks Raley, David Robertson and Kodai Senga.

"I think that leap of faith has paid off and obviously the surrounding cast, the players this organization has brought in are nothing short of incredible," Verlander added. "I cannot wait to be part of something amazing, and hopefully be a small piece of making that vision that Billy and Steve and Alex (Cohen) have for this organization, which is to be a championship-caliber ball club and hopefully winning it all."

When asked why he was comfortable taking a leap of faith with the Mets, Verlander pointed to Cohen once more.

"Steve. I think that was the short answer," Verlander said. "Obviously, Billy has a vision, knows the team intimately and knows what puzzle pieces fit to make the complete puzzle, but ultimately some of those pieces aren't cheap. I think in the background Steve is like 'OK, we're gonna do what's necessary to make this organization a championship-caliber ball club.' I had faith in that."

The Mets are fresh off a 101-win season in 2022, which saw them come up short in the Wild Card round.

Although they lost Jacob deGrom to the Texas Rangers, they replaced one ace with another by signing Verlander, who is fresh off a Cy Young Award campaign.

According to Verlander, he and the Mets had an understanding that they were going to wait for deGrom to make his decision first, before proceeding with negotiations.

"He’s iconic here," Verlander said. "I don’t think it’s fair to him or to me to make that decision before he made his decision."

Once deGrom signed a five-year, $185 million deal with the Rangers, this paved the way for Verlander and the Mets to strike a deal.

Verlander will be reunited with his former Detroit Tigers teammate Max Scherzer. The Mets' top two aces will be pitching their age-40 (Verlander) and age-39 (Scherzer) seasons in 2023.

Read More:

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- Why Mets Felt Comfortable Signing Kodai Senga

- Mets Talking to Teams About These 2 Players

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