The New York Mets could end up letting Jacob deGrom walk in free agency and still have a multiple-time Cy Young winner alongside Max Scherzer in their rotation. New York has reportedly shown an interest in acquiring Justin Verlander.

The Mets and Verlander spoke by Zoom last week, according to The Athletic. The news comes just shortly after Verlander was named the AL Cy Young winner for the third time in his career.

After winning another World Series with the Houston Astros, Verlander is free to sign with any team. Houston is hoping to keep the ace, though the team might not choose to match Verlander's highest offer because of their starting pitching depth.

The Mets were considered to be championship contenders last season in large part because of their one-two punch of deGrom and Scherzer at the top of the rotation, Scherzer is under contract for two more seasons at a record annual salary. In order to re-sign deGrom, the Mets might have to match Scherzer's salary on an even longer contract.

If deGrom commands a salary north of $40 million per year, there's speculation that New York won't give the 34-year-old a four-year-deal. Verlander will be 40 at the start of the 2023 MLB season, likely making him a cheaper option in free agency.

Verlander had a better 2022 campaign than deGrom. On the way to being recognized as the AL's best pitcher, Verlander posted a 1.75 ERA, the lowest mark that the AL has seen in two decades. In 11 starts, deGrom had a 3.08 ERA.

Verlander only pitched six innings in 2020 and 2021 because of Tommy John Surgery. The younger deGrom hasn't been a better bet to stay on the field, making just 26 starts over the last two seasons.

Only Clayton Kershaw has a lower career ERA than deGrom among active pitchers. Since making his debut with the Mets in 2014, deGrom has pitched to a 2.52 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. Verlander was traded to the Astros during the 2017 season and has since thrown for a 2.26 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP.

The Texas Rangers are viewed as serious contenders to sign deGrom. The Los Angeles Dodgers could end up making the best offer to Verlander.

Mets owner Steve Cohen is willing to spend more money than anyone. Still, New York would likely only sign one of the available aces.

Justin Verlander Houston Astros
Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros pitches against the Boston Red Sox during Game One of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 13, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. Tim Bradbury/Getty Images