MLB approves Justin Verlander’s 2-year, $50M contract with Astros amid lockout

Dec. 13 (UPI) — Two-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander‘s two-year, $50 million contract with the Houston Astros received formal approval from Major League Baseball, even at a time when the league has locked out its players amid an ongoing labor dispute.

League sources told ESPN, MLB Media and The Athletic on Monday that league officials approved the pact because Verlander signed it before the expiration of the previous collective bargaining agreement.

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Verlander reached an agreement with the Astros last month. The deal was submitted to the league on the evening of Dec. 1, in the final hours before the CBA expired.

The 38-year-old Verlander holds a player option for the second year of his new contract, The Athletic reported.

Verlander hasn’t pitched since July 2020, when he earned a win for the Astros in the only game that he pitched that season. He underwent Tommy John surgery in September 2020, but he remains on track to pitch in the 2022 season.

In his last full season in 2019, Verlander posted a 21-6 record and 2.58 ERA while striking out 300 over 223 innings. He captured his second American League Cy Young Award that season.

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Verlander, an eight-time All-Star selection, has a 226-129 record and 3.33 ERA across 454 career starts with the Detroit Tigers and Astros. He has spent the past four seasons in Houston.

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