As of last night, the Collective Bargaining Agreement between MLB and the MLBPA has expired and the league is officially in a lockout, meaning that no transactions will be permitted until a new CBA is ratified. This outcome had been widely anticipated throughout the industry, which is why there has been such a frenzy of deals in recent weeks, as many teams and players tried to cram in some of their offseason business before the lockout arrived.
One such deal that was reported a couple weeks ago was the Astros agreeing to re-sign Justin Verlander to a $50MM guarantee over two years, with an opt-out after 2022. However, Jon Heyman of MLB Network notes that the deal has not yet been announced and doesn’t seem to be official. Furthermore, the official MLB page for Houston’s 40-man roster doesn’t list Verlander’s name, nor does the signing appear on Verlander’s transaction tracker.
At this point, it’s unclear why the deal was not officially inked before the CBA expired and there’s no reason to suspect that it’s in any sort of jeopardy. However, it is at least noteworthy that it will apparently remain in a state of limbo as long as the lockout continues.
Verlander’s last full season was 2019, where he threw 223 innings, racking up 300 strikeouts with an ERA of 2.58, winning the AL Cy Young that year. However, Tommy John surgery put a halt to his 2020 after throwing just 6 innings and caused him to miss the 2021 season entirely. Shortly after the end of the season, the 38-year-old held a showcase to demonstrate that he was back to full strength and seemed to have succeeded in that regard, garnering robust interest in his services. About a week later, the reports of the deal with Houston emerged.