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After acquiring Justin Verlander, are the Astros now the AL West favorites over Texas?

After acquiring Justin Verlander, are the Astros now the AL West favorites over Texas? | Locked on Astros
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Aug 01, 2023

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Sep 11, 2023

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LockedOn

The Astros are reunited with the three-time Cy Young Award winner and two-time World Series champ just in time for the stretch run.

HOUSTON — Reunited, and it feels so good? Perhaps. 

The New York Mets traded starter Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros for two top outfield prospects in the Astros system: Drew Gilbert, their number one prospect, and Ryan Clifford, their number four prospect. 

In Verlander, the Astros get back a two-time World Series champion and a three-time Cy Young winner (two with Houston, he won his first Cy Young with Detroit in 2011).

Verlander made 16 starts with the Mets this season and was 6-5 with a 3.15 ERA. After the team made a flurry of expensive acquisitions to drive their payroll up to the $350 million mark, the Mets entered play on August 1 a disappointing 50-55 and 18 games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves in the NL East Division. 

As for the Astros, they are currently in second place behind the Texas Rangers in the AL West, and getting Verlander back could be a big boost for the team down the stretch. 

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Eric Huysman and Brett Chancey, co-hosts of the Locked On Astros podcast, reacted to the trade live on Tuesday afternoon. Initially, the show was going to be about the rumors of Verlander returning, and then it happened while they were recording, which made for a pretty exciting show. 

As the news came in, Huysman and Chancey were getting the info in drips and drabs, and by the time the show ended, they knew who the Astros were giving up for Verlander. 

Huysman and Chancey were surprised the Astros gave up their number one and four prospects, but they are also happy Verlander is back.

Now that the Astros have Verlander coming back, does this make them the favorite to win the AL West again over Texas? 

Chancey believes so. He jokingly told the audience, “Look, guys, we’re back!” To which most of the Astros fans agreed. They’re looking to repeat as World Series Champions in 2023, and getting Verlander back could put them over the top. 

But let’s not count out the Rangers, who also made big moves before the deadline, acquiring starter Jordan Montgomery from the St. Louis Cardinals and Verlander’s former Mets teammate Max Scherzer. 

This trade just means that those two teams could be battling down to the wire in the AL West, and what’s more fun than that? Not much. 

BE SURE to listen and subscribe to Locked On Astros wherever you find your podcasts! 

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