Justin Verlander 'very excited' for Mets chapter of MLB career

Dec 20, 2022; NY, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Justin Verlander buttons his jersey during his introductory press conference at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 20, 2022; NY, NY, USA; New York Mets pitcher Justin Verlander buttons his jersey during his introductory press conference at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports / © Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Verlander's 2022 AL Cy Young acceptance speech at Saturday's New York Baseball Writers' Association of America awards dinner started with a nice touch and look to the nine-time All-Star RHP's Mets future.

Verlander, whom the Mets signed Dec. 7 to a two-year contract for $86.7 million, thanked New York manager Buck Showalter in addition to owner Steve Cohen and his wife, Alex, as the next chapter awaits the former Detroit Tiger (2005-17) and Houston Astro (2017-22).

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"Thank you, Buck, for the kind words," Verlander said. I've had the pleasure of playing for some great, Hall of Fame managers in my career and I really look forward to having the opportunity to play for -- in my opinion -- another one, so thank you.

"I'm very excited to start this next chapter of my career with the Mets as well. Thank you to Steven and Alex Cohen for bringing me here to New York."

Verlander, who turns 40 on Feb. 20, won the aforementioned Cy Young -- his third -- after serving as the ace of the World Series-champion Astros' starting rotation this past season.

In 28 regular-season starts over 175 IP, he went 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA and 10.5 K/9.

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At his introductory news conference Dec. 20, Verlander cited Cohen and Showalter for why he signed with the Mets.

"From the beginning, I think Steve and (GM) Billy (Eppler) reached out very early on and expressed their interest," Verlander said. "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 -- 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."