It's Deadline Day as rumors swirl around the selling Mets
The MLB trade deadline is tonight as rumors circulate regarding several Mets players. Plus, how this franchise could look for the rest of 2023 and beyond.
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets enjoyed an off day on Monday and will return to action tonight against the Royals
New York traded OF Mark Canha in exchange for RHP Justin Jarvis on Monday afternoon (story)
The MLB trade deadline is tonight at 6:00 PM EST
Trade Buzz… 🐝
The Astros and Dodgers remain interested in acquiring Justin Verlander, who could waive his no-trade clause to return to the Astros. Since their farm system isn’t as good as LA’s, it’s possible the Mets would ask the Astros to take on more of the remaining money owed to Verlander (Athletic)
The Mets are not currently close to dealing Verlander, thanks to the complexity of Verlander’s contract ($14 million for 2023, $43 million for 2024, and a performance-based player option for $35 million in 2025) (SNY)
In addition to the Dodgers and Astros, the Reds, Orioles and Braves have also been reported to have interest in Verlander over the last few days
A deal between the Mets and Dodgers for Verlander is unlikely (ESPN)
The Mets have made players who’s contracts expire at the end of 2024 available right now, including Pete Alonso (Athletic)
OF Tommy Pham is generating a lot of trade interest, with the Phillies and Blue Jays being named as potential suitors (NY Post)
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (50-55) at Royals (32-75)
Starting pitchers: LHP José Quintana (0-2, 3.27 ERA) vs. RHP Zach Greinke (1-11, 5.49 ERA)
Where: Kauffman Stadium – Kansas City, MO
When: 8:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
The Mets will choose which path they want to take by today’s deadline… ✍️
It all comes down to this. It is not overstating things to suggest that the future of the Mets organization will come down to what they do or what they do not do prior to today’s 6:00 PM trade deadline.
New York has already fully engaged in their 2023 sell-off, trading away David Robertson, Max Scherzer and Mark Canha in the last five days. The club also traded Eduardo Escobar to the Angels just over a month ago. As the clock ticks away, sources around the industry continue to expect more activity from the Mets in the waning hours.
Following the club’s trade of Mark Canha on Monday afternoon, ESPN’s Jeff Passan went as far as to say, “New York isn’t done. There will be more deals.”
The extent of those deals, however, has yet to be determined and could have a significant impact on the club not only for the remainder of this season but in 2024, as well.
There has been a decent amount of buzz surrounding the services of outfielder Tommy Pham, who is all-but a mortal lock to get dealt before tonight’s deadline. Operating on a one-year deal with approximately $2 million or less of remaining salary and at the age of 35, there is no benefit, rhyme or reason behind the Mets holding onto Pham. The Phillies and Blue Jays have been linked to the veteran outfielder most in recent days but with the dearth of available bats on the market, there are likely to be more teams with great interest.
The Mets can probably expect to get a return similar to what the Nationals received for third baseman Jeimer Candelario, whose .823 OPS is just three points above Pham’s on the season. In exchange for the veteran infielder, Washington received the Cubs’ No. 14 and No. 16 ranked prospects.
Beyond Pham, however, is where the pendulum can really swing.
While it has come as a shock to the system (especially the players, but we’ll get to that in a future newsletter), trading away Escobar, Robertson, Scherzer, Canha and Pham does not greatly change the calculus of the Mets beyond 2023. The most significant player on that list and the only one under contract past this year was Scherzer. And while the club will certainly have to find a replacement for him in the offseason this is also a 39-year-old pitcher who appeared to be on the decline, posting a 4.01 ERA and a 4.73 FIP this season with diminished velocity and a sputtering slider.
Even trading away additional players among the likes of Adam Ottavino or Omar Narváez would still not ultimately change all that much for the club beyond this season. Where things really get interesting, though, is when Justin Verlander’s name is brought into the fold.
The Mets are in a really interesting and unique position right now. If they hold onto Verlander, something that I believed was the likeliest outcome up until recently, they are still signaling to the world that they have designs on reloading this offseason and competing once again in 2024. In a trade market where there are practically no other teams selling off major pieces, though, the Mets could find themselves in a spot where they wind up receiving an offer they can’t refuse for Verlander.
At that stage, what do you do?
New York could wind up getting themselves a prized return they never would’ve expected for a 40-year-old pitcher. On the other hand, trading Verlander away would all-but guarantee that the Mets are likely looking at next season as more of a transition phase. I wouldn’t expect Steve Cohen to not spend at all, it could be a different looking offseason as the organization looks to reset themselves and stay away from the same big deals to players in their mid-to-late thirties that didn’t pan out over this last year.
The Mets are still in the process of rebuilding their farm system in a way that they hope will one day emulate the Dodgers model, so a blockbuster trade in the winter may not be a guarantee, either.
“I do want to be clear that it’s not a rebuild, it’s not a fire sale, it’s not a liquidation,” general manager Billy Eppler said over the weekend. “This is just a repurposing of [Steve Cohen’s] investment in the club, kind of shifting that investment from the team into the organization.”
Left-handed reliever Brooks Raley could also potentially be dealt prior to the deadline, another move that – while not remotely as seismic as Verlander – would indicate the organization’s ‘reset’ approach for 2024.
No matter what, the Mets will be choosing which path they decide to take their organization in over the next few hours. There are two dramatically different directions they could choose to take, one which would keep them on the championship hopeful path they set themselves on over a year ago. The other path, however, would shake things up in a seminal moment for this club and potentially reset the clock on this entire organizational refresh.
Around the League 🚩
The Cubs acquired 3B Jeimer Candelario from the Nationals in exchange for SS Kevin Made and RHP DJ Herz
The Dbacks acquired RHP Paul Sewald from the Mariners in exchange for INF Josh Rojas, OF/1B Dominic Cazone and INF Ryan Bliss
The Rays crushed four home runs in their 5-1 victory over the Yankees
Angels OF Randall Grichuk homered in his first game with the club that originally drafted him as the Halos defeated the Braves, 4-1
The Giants acquired OF AJ Pollock, INF Mark Mathias and cash from the Mariners in exchange for a player to be named later
The Orioles held off the Blue Jays, 4-2, while Toronto SS Bo Bichette was removed from the game after injuring his knee