All options are on the table for the Mets right now when it comes to how to proceed with the rest of the 2023 season. One of those options includes trading right-handed aces, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.
That would be a nuclear option for the Mets. The front office has not expressed interest in exercising this option, but given the state of the underachieving club, it’s a possibility that has to be considered.
However, it appears to be one that Verlander himself had not considered until the subject was broached during the Subway Series at Yankees Stadium this week. Verlander is “not really” aware of the Aug. 1 deadline at the moment.
“I’m just trying to focus on what’s ahead of me,” Verlander said. “I would hope that if there is any chance of [being traded] that [general manager Billy Eppler] would come and talk to me. That hasn’t happened, so I’m focused on being a Met.”
Verlander’s contract runs through 2024 with a vested option for 2025. The three-time Cy Young Award winner would be nearly 43 years old by the end of the option year. However, he does not have no-trade protection, unlike Scherzer.
Trading one of them would require the Mets to cover a significant portion of their salaries. They’re each making $43.33 million this season and neither one has lived up the ace billing this season.
Verlander is 5-5 with a 3.24 ERA in 15 starts. Scherzer is 8-4 with a 4.20 ERA in 18 starts. Scherzer’s home run/fly ball percentage — a measure of how many fly balls go for home runs — is the highest of his career at 16.2%. They’re both on track for the worst WAR numbers of their careers.
Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s all of the mileage they have put on their arms with playoff performances, or maybe the Mets’ overall pitching philosophies just don’t work for two future members of the Baseball Hall of Fame (or for most of the club’s pitchers, for that matter). Whatever the case may be, the two have not lived up to expectations this season, but both have been accountable and honest about their struggles.
They’re also both committed to Queens and would like to finish the job they started with the Mets. Scherzer angrily shot down the notion that he would waive his no-trade clause when asked over the weekend in Boston.
It would befit the Mets to keep the two of them around next season. The team would have to completely remake their rotation with only right-hander Kodai Senga and left-hander Jose Quintana signed through next season. Right-hander Tylor Megill and left-hander David Peterson were taken out of the rotation this season and will have to earn their spots again.
Verlander will make one more start before the trade deadline, facing the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on Sunday. His performance Tuesday night helped the Mets stave off trade speculation for another day. Another win could help stave off a fire sale altogether.
“That’s why I signed here, I want to win here,” Verlander said. “Obviously, it hasn’t gone according to plan just yet, but I didn’t sign a one-year deal.”
Source: Berkshire mont