When Jacob deGrom signed with the Texas Rangers before the Winter Meetings, the New York Mets pivoted quickly. They replaced a two-time Cy Young Award winner with a pitcher who’s won it three times, Justin Verlander.

To their credit, the Mets negotiated on parallel planes with deGrom and Verlander since the start of free agency. Re-signing deGrom, a franchise icon considered by many in baseball to be the best pitcher in the game, was their priority. But Verlander, fresh off winning the American League Cy Young Award and his second world championship with the Houston Astros, was more than a fallback option.

It can be argued that signing Verlander was the better option for New York. Here are a few reasons why Verlander is the better Mets fit than deGrom.

3. Remaining a Met not a priority for Jacob deGrom

Only Jacob deGrom knows how important it was to him to be a New York Met for the entirety of his career. Nor can anyone speak to whether he enjoyed living in New York and pitching for the Mets.

But it sure appeared over the past year that deGrom was not so happy and had his sights set on leaving. He announced in spring training his intention to opt out of his contract. That, of course, was his negotiated right.

Never did you hear from deGrom that he really wanted to work out a new deal with the Mets nor that he absolutely wished to remain in New York, however. That could be a negotiating tactic. But teammates like Edwin Diaz and Brandon Nimmo let it be known that staying with the Mets was a priority. DeGrom did not profess the same sentiments, even after New York was knocked out in the wild card round by the San Diego Padres.

Theories abound as to why deGrom seemed unhappy. No doubt he didn’t like his previous contract (five years, $137.5 million), which he outperformed by leaps and bounds. It could be he didn’t groove to the Mets giving Max Scherzer $43 million per season in his free agent deal. And perhaps he didn’t like sharing top dog status in the Mets rotation with the type-A Scherzer.

It’s been reported that deGrom was sullen and detached last season. Also speculated is that deGrom did not enjoy vaccination mandates in New York and that the northeast was not a good fit for the Florida native.

So maybe it was just time for deGrom to move on. That’s where Verlander comes in. He seems excited to embrace the big city with his starlet wife Kate Upton. And filling the rotation spot held previously by deGrom is just the type of challenge to keep Verlander’s juices flowing at age 40.