The Mets may have just caught a $17.5 million break

Justin Verlander, Mets
Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets are rolling. The blue and orange have won seven games in a row to climb to just two games under .500 (35-37), and with a weak National League, are just 0.5 a game back of the final wild-card spot.

While there is still plenty of time until the trade deadline and the Mets season could go south, it appears that, unlike last year, the blue and orange won’t have a complete firesale.

The Mets had two of the biggest arms at last year’s deadline in Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander and got decent returns for each after agreeing to send money alongside them. Some of the cash the blue and orange sent came with conditions and one of those conditions may not be activated.

Justin Verlander is heading to the injured list again

MLB: Houston Astros-Workouts
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Verlander was scratched from his scheduled start this past Saturday against the Detroit Tigers due to neck pain that the 41-year-old had been dealing with for the past two weeks. The Virginia native was placed on the injured list on Tuesday, retroactively to June 16.

The earliest the three-time Cy-Young Award winner can return is July 1, but his timetable is unknown. This is the second time Verlander has been on the injured list. He opened the campaign on the IL with a shoulder injury and did not make his debut until April 19.

Why does this matter to the Mets?

May 4, 2024; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA;  New York Mets manager Carlos Mendoza (64) comes out to the mound to talk with pitcher Adam Ottavino (0), catcher Tomas Nido (3), first base Pete Alonso (20), shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) and third base Brett Baty (22) against the Tampa Bay Rays during the eighth inning  at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

When the Mets agreed to trade Verlander to the Houston Astros, the blue and orange agreed to pay $25 million of his 2024 salary and half of his $35 million salary in 2025, which will only be required if his option vests.

For Verlander’s option to vest for next season, the 41-year-old had to throw at least 140 innings this season. So far, the Virginia native has thrown 57 innings across 10 starts, meaning Verlander would need to throw 83 more innings before the end of the regular season.

If Verlander reaches the 140-inning threshold, then his option is vested, and the Mets must pay the Astros $17.5 million. If not, Verlander becomes a free agent, and the blue and orange are off the hook.

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