The Astros don’t appear to be in any hurry to extend some of their top players. Speaking to the press during the team’s annual FanFest on Saturday, Justin Verlander confirmed that he hasn’t discussed the possibility of inking a long-term deal with the organization, echoing similar comments made by Carlos Correa earlier this week.
“I don’t know what their organizational plans are,” Verlander told reporters (via MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart). I’d say it’s something I wouldn’t be opposed to. It’d be a conversation. […] I haven’t brought it up to them, nor have they to me.”
The 35-year-old right-hander is coming off of his first full season in Houston following a late-season trade from the Tigers in 2017. He returned to near-career high numbers in 2018 with a 16-9 record in 34 starts and an All-Star worthy 2.52 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, 12.2 SO/9, and 6.8 fWAR through 214 innings. He’s currently guaranteed $28 million in 2019 with a $22 million vesting option for the 2020 season, the latter of which hinges on a top-five placement in 2019 Cy Young Award voting.
Correa, meanwhile, is likely heading to an arbitration hearing with the club next Thursday. He filed for $5 million at the arbitration deadline in mid-January and was met with a $4.25 million counter from the Astros. According to Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle, the two sides haven’t engaged in extension talks in the weeks since the deadline, which is hardly surprising given the 24-year-old shortstop’s persistent back issues and career-worst numbers in 2018. While Correa appears to have made a return to full health this offseason, the Astros are in no rush to ink him to a longer deal, especially considering that he’s slated to remain under team control through 2021.