Astros make qualifying offers to Correa, Verlander

Astros

Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa smiles during batting practice before Game 5 of baseball’s American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

HOUSTON (KIAH) — The Houston Astros made qualifying offers to shortstop Carlos Correa and pitcher Justin Verlander to try to keep them with the team in 2022.

The move also helps the team to recoup extra draft picks if one or both players decide to sign with another club.

The offer to Correa and Verlander are the same: a one-year, $18.4 million deal, according to Jake Kaplan of The Athletic. The team also made an offer to Correa of a five-year, $160 million deal.

Both Correa and Verlander have until Nov. 17 to accept the offer or to reject it and stay in the free agent market. And if they do sign with another team, the Astros will be able to keep their compensatory second-round picks in the 2022 draft.

In 148 games in 2021, Correa hit .279 with 34 doubles, 26 home runs and 92 RBI while posting an .850 OPS. He ranked second among AL shortstops in homers, RBI and third in OPS. His 2.9 Defensive WAR was tops in the Majors while his 7.2 overall WAR was third.

Verlander, who missed the 2021 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, has posted a 43-15 record in his 74 starts since being acquired by the Astros on August 31, 2017 with a 2.45 ERA and an 0.83 WHIP. In that span, among starting pitchers, he ranks first in the AL in ERA, WHIP and opponents’ batting average (.183), and second in win percentage at .741 (min. 70 starts). For his career, Verlander leads all active pitchers in wins with a 226-129 record.

Also, the Astros officially exercised the club option for 2022 on first baseman Yuli Gurriel. Gurriel won the American League batting title in 2021, hitting a career-high .319 in 143 games with 31 doubles, 15 home runs and 81 RBI. He also reached career highs in walks (59) and on-base-pct. (.383), the latter ranking second in the AL.

Additionally, the Astros announced that the 2022 contract option for relief pitcher Ryan Pressly has officially been vested. Pressly had the best season of his career in 2021, serving as the Astros closer. In 64 appearances, the righty was 5-3 with a career-low 2.25 ERA and 26 saves in 28 chances. His 92.9% save percentage ranked second in the AL.

Four players that had been on the 60-day Injured List have been returned to the 40-man roster today. They are pitchers Kent Emanuel, Tyler Ivey, Rafael Montero and infielder Freudis Nova. The Astros 40-man roster currently is at 38 players.

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