Justin Verlander and the Mets take series from Nationals as uncertainty about the future looms
The ace and future Hall of Famer might have pitched his last game in a Mets uniform on Sunday. Plus, Billy Eppler and Justin Verlander both spoke to the media on Sunday
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets defeated the Nationals 5-2 to take three of four from Washington (box)
With trade rumors swirling, Justin Verlander got the start and gave up one run in 5.1 innings while striking out five
By picking up the win, he is 49th pitcher in major league history to reach the 250 win mark
In the month of July he is 4-1 with a 1.69 ERA and he lowered his overall home ERA to 2.28
The Mets finished the month with a 14-9 record and a team ERA of 3.49 which is their lowest of the season
Pete Alonso went 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs. He is now tied for third in the league with 75 RBIs. His 58 RBIs in his career against the Nationals is the most against any opponent. Over his last 10 games he is hitting .342 with thirteen RBIs and an OPS of 1.159
Francisco Lindor went 3-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored. He is hit home runs in back-to-back games for the fifth time this season
Jeff McNeil went 1-for-4 with a triple and a RBI. He is hitting .311 over his last nine games played
Who’s Hot 🔥
Justin Verlander has a 1.49 ERA over his last seven starts, a span of 42.1 IP. Opponents are hitting just .178/.269/.230 against him during that span
Francisco Lindor has a .920 OPS over his last 46 games, during which he’s hit 11 HR with 25 RBI
Pete Alonso is hitting .342/.395/.763 with four home runs and 13 RBI over his last 10 games
Billy Eppler’s update on the Mets… 📣
On Sunday, Mets GM Billy Eppler met with reporters to discuss the trade that sent Max Scherzer to the Rangers and both the short and long-term direction of the franchise…
He does not view this as a fire sale or a rebuild, rather a repurposing of the investments and resources Steve Cohen put into the organization
He expects the Mets to “compete” in 2024, although he doesn’t believe the organization will be as heavily involved in free agency as they have been recently
He expects to still be involved in free agency until the farm system evolves to a point where they can graduate more high-ceiling prospects to the major leagues
The organization doesn’t want to use free agency as a market for them to depend on - they want to depend on their minor league system for talent and use free agency as a tool to supplement their roster
Eppler has spoken to Francisco Lindor and Brandon Nimmo regarding the state of the franchise, but had not yet spoken to Pete Alonso at that time
"With clubs that are going to go through a rebuild, you have to endure like five, six, seven years of losing. And we don't have the appetite for that. We're not going to do that. And so, what we want to do is we want to use Steve's investment and enhance this farm system and get us to our larger goal."
Mets GM Billy Eppler
Following his start with the Mets on Sunday, RHP Justin Verlander told reporters the trade of Max Scherzer to the Rangers might alter his opinion on whether or not the Mets will be able to contend during the life of his contract, and left open the possibility of waiving his no-trade clause should the right situation arise and the front office offers such an opportunity.
His willingness to waive his no-trade clause will depend on whether or not the Mets believe they can or will contend in 2024.
Here is the latest on Verlander and other buzz surrounding possible trade candidates…
The asking price for Justin Verlander is very higher, higher than that for Max Scherzer (SNY)
The Astros and Mets have discussed the parameters for a deal on Verlander, but the Astros want a significant amount of money paid down on Verlander’s contract (USA Today)
The Braves have checked in with the Mets for Verlander (MLB Network)
The Dodgers are a, “desirable” trade partner for the Mets for Verlander due to their rich farm system (Athletic)
Brooks Raley is garnering a lot of interest, with the Twins and Dodgers among those involved in those conversations (MMO)
The Brewers are showing interest in trading for Mark Canha (Athletic)
Today’s Game 🗓
The Mets are off as they travel to Kansas City to take on the Royals.
To trade or not to trade. That is the question… ✍️
Obviously, this season has not gone according to plan for all parties involved, which includes Justin Verlander.
That’s actually putting it kindly.
Verlander’s name coming up in trade talks was almost unthinkable when he first signed here in the offseason, but after both he and the team struggled in the first half of the season, the team is officially in sell mode and has already made some drastic changes, starting with moving David Robertson to the Marlins (who saved a game for them yesterday, by the way) and moving Max Scherzer and his complicated situation to the Rangers for their third best prospect.
After struggling in the beginning of the season, the ace is now 5-5 with a 3.24 ERA after turning it on in July with a successful month. This becomes a double edged sword for the organization. Verlander rounding into form will make him more attractive to teams in need of pitching, but one of those teams is also the Mets. With Scherzer gone the rotation is already thin and the Mets will need to replace them both in the offseason if they ship off Verlander.
Some of the best names on the market next offseason are Aaron Nola, Lucas Giolito, and Julio Urias. Not to mention Yoshinobu Yamamoto who the Mets have scouted in Japan. With Kodai Senga and José Quintana as the only two guarantees in the rotation next season (assuming Verlander is a goner), is a combination of any of those pitchers enough to compete with the powerhouse Braves and a tough Marlins staff?
Is diving head first into free agency and giving out long-term contracts to starting pitchers a wise idea?
Of course there is also Shohei Ohtani. Familiarity with Billy Eppler has been an argument for why Ohtani might sign in New York but that works both ways. Ohtani saw Eppler’s struggles putting together a competitive team in Los Angeles up close, and now a team that spent alot of money and has totally flopped is very publicly in sell mode.
The organization that signed stars in now paying them to go away. Ohtani was always a nice dream and with each passing day that is probably all that he will be.
So the Mets need to make a decision.
While Eppler insisted they want to remain competitive, trading away Verlander makes competing in 2024 much more difficult. The Mets would be paying both Scherzer and Verlander to play elsewhere, Pete Alonso is a free agent after next season, the bullpen will need to be remade, they need at least four starting pitchers inclusive of depth, and other holes will need to be filled, most notably in the outfield.
There are multiple teams reportedly interested in Verlander, including the Dodgers, Astros and Rangers, all of which have both the cash and the deep prospect pool plus an ability to immediately win the World Series right now.
The Mets aren’t winning a World Series right now. They probably aren’t winning a World Series in 2024.
So do the Mets want to try and retool for 2024 knowing the odds, or rebuild for the future? That is the question.
Around the League 🚩
The Angels acquired INF C.J. Cron and OF Randal Grichuk from the Rockies in exchange for LHP Mason Albright and RHP Jake Madden
The Blue Jays traded for reliever Jordan Hicks from the Cardinals, but were edged by the surging Angels 3-2 in Toronto
The Rangers continued to be busy by trading for LHP Jordan Montgomery and reliever Chris Stratton, but have now lost three in a row after dropping a 5-3 contest to the Padres
Texas also placed Nathan Eovaldi on the injured list with a forearm strain
The Orioles struck out eighteen batters and defeated the Yankees 9-3 to take the series