With the MLB lockout officially behind us, the transaction market is open for business. The Cardinals made the first post-lockout signing, inking right-hander Drew VerHagen to a two-year contract worth $5.5 million. The deal also includes performance bonuses up to $1 million for each season.
We have agreed to terms with free-agent RHP Drew VerHagen on a two-year contract.— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) March 11, 2022
VerHagen, 31, spent six seasons with Detroit (2014-19) and pitched the past two seasons with the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan. pic.twitter.com/vJey4Z5Alc
VerHagen, a Vanderbilt product, was drafted by the Tigers back in 2012 and is entering his age-31 season. VerHagen spent six seasons at the big-league level in Detroit, from 2014 to 2019, when he served primarily as a reliever, starting only eight games in that stretch. VerHagen worked to a 4.76 FIP in his 200 MLB innings through the 2019 season. After getting released by the Tigers, VerHagen signed with the Nippon Ham Fighters prior to the 2020 season.
In 38 games across the 2020 and 2021 seasons in the NPBO, VerHagen logged 207 2⁄3 innings, boasting a 215:62 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 3.51 ERA along the way.
The Cardinals made the announcement of VerHagen’s signing with a news release on Friday. In the release, John Mozeliak commented, “We have been following Drew for the past two seasons in Japan while playing for the Nippon Ham Fighters. We believe he will compete for a starting job but could easily transition to the bullpen if needed. We are excited to have Drew join our organization.”