Rosenthal: What I’m hearing at MLB Winter Meetings


In recent weeks, one of the rumors circulating through baseball was that Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer didn’t like each other, dating back to their time with the Tigers from 2011 to 2014.

The buzz led me to call two other members of those Tigers teams to ask if that was true. Both said Verlander and Scherzer were indeed competitive with each other as teammates, as you would expect from two Type A aces. However, neither former Tigers thought it would stop the Mets from signing Verlander and reuniting him with Scherzer.

It is clear that was not the case, as Verlander and the Mets agreed Monday on a two-year, $86.66 million contract with an option to vest for a third year. The median annual net worth of $43.33 million ties Scherzer’s as the highest in major league history.

Both pitchers are older now – Verlander turns 40 on Feb. 20, Scherzer is 38. Both became World Series champions after leaving the Tigers, Verlander with the Astros in 2017 and 2022, Scherzer with the Nationals in 2019. Both want to win again .

• The Phillies consider Xander Bogaerts a reasonable alternative to Trea Turner. According to a number of clubs, Bogaerts is the best hitter of the four big shortstops. He has proven that he can play in a demanding market and could move into another infield position in the future if needed. He may also sign for fewer years than Turner.

The Padres have met Turner in person twice, and the San Diego climate and lifestyle appeal to many players. However, Turner is from Florida and his wife is from New Jersey. It is believed that he prefers the east coast.

Another thing to consider, a challenge the Padres, Angels, Dodgers and Giants all face in free agency: California’s state income tax is the highest in the nation.

• The market for free-agent catcher Christian Vázquez includes the Cubs, Cardinals, Padres, Guardians and Twins. The Astros also have an interest in keeping Vázquez, but in a more shared job with Martín Maldonado.

The 32-year-old Vázquez seems likely to win a three-year contract. During the postseason, Opponents scored just one run in the 33 innings he caught for the Astros, on JT Realmuto’s 10th-inning homer off Luis Garcia in Game 1 of the World Series.

While the Astros’ pitching staff deserves high praise, Vázquez was behind the plate for the final 12 innings of the Division Series clincher against the Mariners, the Yankees’ combined nine-inning shutout in Game 3 of the ALCS, and the combined no- hitter in Game 4 of the World Series.

• Speaking of the Astros, they have their eye on three left-handed outfielders: Andrew Benintendi, Michael Brantley and Michael Conforto.

All three ended the season in various forms of decline. Benintendi, 28, suffered a hamate bone fracture in his right hand on Sept. 2. Brantley, 35, did not play after June 26 and underwent surgery on his right shoulder on August 12. Conforto, 29, suffered an injury to his right shoulder in January, had surgery in April and did not play at all last season.

• The Angels want to upgrade at shortstop and stay in position to spend money, but their immediate focus is a back-end illuminator.

At this point, Andrew Velazquez, Luis Rengifo and David Fletcher are the Angels’ options. The big four shortstops – Turner, Carlos Correa, Bogaerts and Dansby Swanson – are more likely to join clubs better placed to compete.

Plenty of free players remain available, but the Angels, like many other clubs, are wary of the sky-high prices.

• Finally, here are Verlander’s career earnings by decade as he begins his new contract with the Mets in his 40s.

1920s: $46.515 million
1930s: $271 million
1940s: $86.66 million

(Photo: Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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