3 Astros contracts We Were Happy to See End, And 2 We're Still Eager to See Expire
Contract we're happy to have off the books No. 3: Justin Verlander
This is where it gets interesting. Please hear me out here.
Verlander, a first ballot Hall of Famer and one of the best pitchers of this generation, had a hugely successful five-year stint in Houston before he departed via free agency and signed with the Mets.
In those five years, he won two Cy Young Awards (and earned a second place finish in 2018), earned MVP votes three times and led the league in strikeouts in 2018 with a whopping 290 (he followed this up with 300 the next season).
The reason Verlander is falling under this category is simple: money. The 40-year-old is legitimately getting better with age and is still commanding superstar-level pay. At this time, it wasn't financially wise for the Astros to pursue a reunion, simply because there's current players on the roster that are waiting for contract extensions (see: Kyle Tucker).
What will make the loss of Verlander easier to swallow for Astros fans is the fact that the club still has four ace-level starters in the rotation as well as intriguing prospect Hunter Brown, who looked dominant in a 20-inning cameo last season.
Verlander will forever be remembered as one of the best pitchers to ever play for the Astros over the course of this franchise's colorful history. However, it was time to move on so the next wave of players can get paid.