I’ve heard mixed stories about Justin Verlander in the past. Even going back to his days in Detroit, I listened to some reports that he didn’t have many friends in that clubhouse. I never cared about that. I still don’t care about that. I just want to see good baseball teams, which the Tigers had for the most part when Verlander was in Detroit. Recently, some stories came out that Verlander showed a diva-like attitude in the Mets clubhouse and complained about their analytics department.
NY Post- A Met told Puma that Verlander was a “diva” who was detached from his Mets teammates and complained about how the team’s analytics department was not at the level as the one he worked with during his first stint with the Astros. And it was that “diva” attitude caused Scherzer to grumble some about Verlander.
I’m not a Mets hater. I find myself rooting for the Mets more often than not. I’d like to see them be good because they rarely ever are, and they have such a passionate fan base. With that said, if Justin Verlander says, your organization needs a better analytics department, it means they need a better analytics department.
At this point, I look at Justin Verlander the way that many people look at Michael Jordan. You can tell me as many stories as you want about him being difficult to work with or potentially being an asshole, and I'll simply reply by saying, "Yeah, he's Justin Verlander." Every Major League team that employs Justin Verlander should listen to Justin Verlander. No baseball player compares to him, and there won't be for a long time. You know what you're doing if you're 40 years old and you are still pitching more innings and striking out more hitters than most 25-year-olds are in the primes.
Verlander was open about the fact that he felt like his career changed when he arrived in Houston. People can make all the jokes they want about the Astros stealing scandal, but they are as analytically advanced as any team in baseball. Their pitching department has been elite for years.
Many people thought Verlander was nearing the twilight of his career when he arrived in Houston, and he became as good as he was in Detroit. He fixed his slider and increased his spin rate on an overwhelming fastball. That's why, honestly, he never should've left Houston. He found a home there in the second half of his career. But Houston allocated their funds to sign Jose Abreu and Rafael Montero. Oops.
Given how they've performed this season, it's fair to question whether or not the Mets' analytics department is up to snuff. I know they've had their fair share of injury woes. Those injuries started as early as the WBC when Edwin Diaz blew his knee out. But they should not be this bad. They have very talented players, and they're not getting the most out of them. Even Verlander stumbled out of the gate when he started his shortly-lived Mets career.
I live by a pretty simple philosophy. If a team doesn't have talented players and they lose a lot of games, you blame the front office. You can point fingers at the owner or the GM about why everything fell apart. But the Mets are the antithesis of that. When you have excellent players and fail, you can't just throw your hands up and say, "Oh well, it's the Mets." We live in an age where the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. Curses don't exist anymore. There are only good organizations and bad ones.
The 2023 Mets, even with some of the bad luck, should not have been the disaster they've become. Even though Verlander put out a statement acknowledging his time with the Mets and wishing him the best in the future, I feel his alleged criticism is very valid. Steve Cohen is the man, and he can spend as much money as he wants to, but ultimately there needs to be an influx of 21st-century analytics, and according to the best pitcher of a generation, that hasn't been the case.