Justin Verlander agreed to a contract with the Astros on Nov. 17 , according to reports, including from his brother Fox Sports MLB analyst Ben Verlander. The Astros never made an official announcement about the deal since it hadn’t been signed yet.
There’s always a delay between when free agents agree to a contract and when they actually sign the deal. With the end of the collective bargaining agreement looming and a lockout approaching, Verlander and the Astros had two weeks to make the deal official before the owners locked out the players Wednesday night . That never happened, and no one seems to know why.
With the players locked out, free agents can’t sign deals until there’s a new CBA, which means the Verlander contract is on hold and he’s still technically a free agent.
“It is unclear why the deal reported two weeks ago is now in limbo," MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweeted on Wednesday night . On Friday morning, Heyman tweeted : “This remains a mystery. No one has responded why Verlander deal wasn't made official.”
Verlander isn’t listed on the Astros’ 40-man roster, although the team did remove reliever Andre Scrubb from the roster on Tuesday, presumably to make room for Verlander before the CBA expired Wednesday night. Verlander and the Astros can still make the deal official as soon as the players union and the owners agree to a new CBA, but that may not be until close to spring training .
The Verlander contract reportedly is for one year and $25 million with a player option for a second year at $25 million.
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