NEW YORK — Justin Verlander has a second AL Cy Young Award – and a clear path paved toward Cooperstown.

Verlander beat out teammate Gerrit Cole in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America revealed Wednesday night. Verlander got 17 first-place votes to 13 for Cole, who became a free agent after the season.

Mets ace Jacob deGrom won the NL prize for the second straight year. He received 29 of 30 first-place votes, becoming the 11th pitcher to win Cy Youngs in consecutive years. He and Verlander are the 20th and 21st players to win the award multiple times.

The 36-year-old Verlander won his first Cy Young in 2011 with Detroit, when he was also named MVP. Since then, he’d been a runner-up three times.

“The adversity I went through puts a new perspective on everything,” he said. “I mean, still would’ve liked to have won a couple of them.”

Verlander continued a marvelous second act to his career since a 2017 trade from Detroit to Houston. He led the majors with 21 victories and padded his Hall of Fame resume by getting his 3,000th strikeout in his final start of the regular season. He also reached 300 punchouts in a season for the first time.

Verlander no-hit Toronto on Sept. 1, becoming the sixth pitcher with three no-hitters in a career. He joined a group that includes Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan, Sandy Kofax, Bob Feller and Cy Young, along with 1880s pitcher Larry Corcoran.

Forget about slowing down – Verlander’s goal this offseason is to add velocity to his top-end fastball. He’s thinking about using weighted balls and other new-age throwing techniques.

“I will always try to push the boundaries of what I can do,” Verlander said. “If my body says, `Hold on, you can’t do that anymore,’ then I’ll pull back.”

The case between Verlander and Cole was tight. Cole had more strikeouts (326) and a lower ERA (2.50), but Verlander threw 10 2/3 more innings and won more games. They are the first set of teammates to finish 1-2 in AL voting – it’s happened five times in the NL.

Verlander and Cole pitched Houston to the World Series, where Cole continued to dominate while Verlander faltered. The right-hander lost twice to the champion Washington Nationals – a letdown not factored in voting that concluded before the postseason began.

He’s hoping to take another run at a title – with Cole – next season.

“I know that Gerrit had a great time playing here and I know he would like to return, if possible,” Verlander said. “But that is now on Gerrit and his family and people above me.”

Tampa Bay Rays righty Charlie Morton finished third a year after leaving Houston in free agency.

DeGrom is in special company as a repeat NL winner, joining Sandy Koufax, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer.

“It was a dream to play this game and a dream to win one Cy Young,” deGrom said. “To win back to back was a goal. It’s hard to explain. You set these goals, but it almost doesn’t feel real yet.”

The 31-year-old led the NL with 255 strikeouts and posted a 2.43 ERA. His resume was bolstered by his durability – deGrom totaled 204 innings, compared to 182 2/3 for runner-up Hyun-Jin Ryu and 172 1/3 for Scherzer, the Nationals’ ace who finished third.

A year after taking the award despite just 10 victories – fewest ever by a starting pitcher – deGrom earned 11 wins with a Mets team that’s struggled to support him.

After signing a $137.5 million, five-year deal to remain with New York shortly before opening day, deGrom wasn’t so dominant early in the season. He got hit around in April and May, even allowing seven runs in an outing against the last-place Marlins.

The embarrassment in Miami was a wake-up call for the gritty deGrom. Following that loss, he went 8-3 with a 1.89 ERA over his final 23 starts. DeGrom wrapped up the season with 23 consecutive scoreless innings.

“I feel like I was trying to better than what I did in 2018,” he said, adding “I think that was something I struggled with to start this year, was kind of dwelling on what happened last year. Kind of not focusing on the task ahead as much as I probably should have.”

NOTES

GIANTS: Gabe Kapler might need years to match the popularity of his predecessors with the San Francisco Giants.

Farhan Zaidi believes he will get there eventually.

Kapler has been hired as San Francisco’s manager a month after being fired from the same job by the Philadelphia Phillies. Kapler received a three-year contract to replace Bruce Bochy, a beloved figure who retired at the end of the season following 13 years and three championships with San Francisco.

The Giants made the announcement late Tuesday and made a formal introduction Wednesday afternoon. Kapler is the second big hire in a matter of days by Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. On Monday, Zaidi introduced new general manager Scott Harris, most recently an assistant GM for the Chicago Cubs.

Zaidi and Kapler are now reunited from their time with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where Kapler served as director of player development and Zaidi the general manager.

Kapler, 44, was fired Oct. 10 after going 161-163 over two seasons with the Phillies. With slugger Bryce Harper their blockbuster acquisition, the Phillies finished 81-81 this year for their first non-losing season since 2012.

Last week, the Giants narrowed their managerial search to three finalists: Kapler, Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro.

GM MEETINGS: Baseball’s most prominent agent criticized teams for a lack of competition, proclaiming “in many ways the industry is in a competitive hibernation” that has led to four straight years of attendance drops.

Scott Boras, who represents top free agents Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon, said many teams entered last season with the goal of rebuilding through high drafts picks and an attitude of “I don’t want to win 82 games. I want to win 69 games. You know why? Because I get rewarded for it.”

Standing in a courtyard at the hotel where general managers are holding their annual meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona,, Boras said the decision of some fans to stay away from ballparks was understandable. Major League Baseball’s average attendance has fallen from 30,169 in 2016 to 28,339 this year, its lowest since 2003.
“In the big world, when you go to the zoo and half the bears are asleep, you are not able to enjoy the zoo as it should be,” he said.
Boras also rebuked clubs at last year’s GM meetings, the start of a slow free-agent market in which only 25% of free agents signed before January. His top free agent, Bryce Harper, waited until spring training was underway to reach a record $330 million 13-year contract with Philadelphia.
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