Justin Verlander Outing Guarantees Huge Contract For 2023

With yet another dominant performance Thursday night, future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander has guaranteed himself a big payday for 2023 — as if that was ever in question. His six shutout innings triggered a vesting option in the contract he signed with the Houston Astros this past offseason: by reaching 130 innings pitched, he is officially in line for his $25M option for next season. 

But he also has an option to decline that, and go back on the free agent market if he is so inclined. With another Cy Young-worthy campaign, that's almost a certainty, as he should be able to earn much more than that on the open market. 

After missing two full seasons due to Tommy John surgery, the "ageless" Verlander (he's 39, for those who are counting) has posted a major league-leading 1.73 ERA this season, along with an MLB-leading 15 wins, and an equally-remarkable 0.85 WHIP. 

Even his brother, who's with Fox Sports, is out there on social, showing just how special his big bro is:

His 4-year run with the Astros has him posting a 2.29 ERA in 94 starts. From the ages of 34 to 39. 

Last offseason, Verlander's contemporary Max Scherzer, another of the greatest pitchers of this generation, went on the open market at the age of 37 and signed a massive 3-year contract with the New York Mets, averaging an MLB record $43M per season. 

Could Verlander top that? He just might want to try.