Mets open a series against the White Sox, Starling Marte's pain, and will the Mets trade Pete Alonso?
Plus, what are the consequences to trading both Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander?
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets will open a three-game series against the White Sox tonight at Citi Field
Starling Marte continues to deal with residual pain following off-season core surgery (New York Daily News)
Roster Moves 📰
Sent RHP Stephen Ridings outright to Triple-A Syracuse
Sent LHP TJ McFarland outright to Triple-A Syracuse
Trade rumors 🤐
The Mets do not expect to discuss dealing Pete Alonso at the trade deadline (SNY)
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (43-50) vs. White Sox (40-55)
Where: Citi Field – Flushing, NY
Starters: RHP Carlos Carrasco (3-3, 5.16 ERA) vs. RHP Lucas Giolito (6-5, 3.45 ERA)
When: 7:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
The consequences tied to trading Max Scherzer and/or Justin Verlander ✍️
The concept of trading both Max Scherzer and/or Justin Verlander has been discussed ad nauseam over the past couple of weeks. The context has mostly been about the Mets not being very good, these two pitchers having underperformed and being a key reason why they’ve stunk, and the Mets getting out from under these burdensome contracts.
All of that is true, but to a certain extent.
Remember, we are operating under the assumption that anyone would be willing to take on Scherzer and his $43 million player option for 2024 (I’ll assume the Mets are able to eat the remainder of his 2023 salary) as well as Verlander and the remaining $86 million owed to him (maybe the Mets would be willing to pick some of that up, but that seems nuts to me). We are also operating under an assumption the Mets will be able to net attractive prospect pieces in return for one pitcher who is turning 39 and the other who is already 40, both of whom are diminishing).
One of the things we really haven’t talked about are the consequences of trading Verlander, Scherzer or both.
The free agent starting pitcher class includes Shohei Ohtani, Marcus Stroman, Charlie Morton, Clayton Kershaw, Martin Pérez, Julio Urias, Aaron Nola, Kyle Hendricks, among others. The like-for-like replacements are Ohtani, Urias or Nola, so for the sake of the conversation, I’ll stick with those as my discussion points.
Ohtani is a unicorn and two players in one. He should be pursued whether the Mets trade anyone or not.
That boils it down to Urias and Nola. Both of which will require deals of at least five years, especially Urias who is still in his 20’s. And long-term deals for starting pitchers rarely work out, as we have come to learn through the course of free agency.
Back to Scherzer and Verlander for a moment - the greatest feature in both of the contracts given to Scherzer and Verlander is that the terms are so short.
For Scherzer, it was essentially two guaranteed years out of the gate, although the $43 million player option would seem like a growing reality unless he simply wants to forfeit that and retire or simply leave the Mets, because he won’t get that in free agency.
For Verlander, the terms were more or less the same only they were for a modestly older pitcher, and there were three guaranteed years as opposed to two. But, both deals will likely work out in the same way, with one pitcher being here when the other isn’t in 2025.
In other words, the insurance the Mets took out of the contracts for Scherzer and Verlander were in the length of the deal. Their contracts are burdensome dollar-wise, but certainly not for a long time.
If the Mets were to trade both of them and eat money in the process, sure they might get back a decent prospect or two in a trade but it’s not as if the Mets have anyone right behind them in Triple-A to take their places. Mike Vasil has been a nice story for them in the minor leagues this season but by no means projects to be a top-of-the-rotation starter, and as Linda wrote yesterday, Tylor Megill, Joey Lucchesi, and/or David Peterson aren’t exactly cooking up anything to suggest they’re going to transform from Syracuse Express pitchers to top-of-the-rotation monsters.
So, the Mets have to dip into free agency and likely give out a risky, longer-term deal to a starting pitcher anyway unless they’re able to attract an older pitcher like Morton (they’re not going to convince Kershaw to leave LA). That could be hard to do, and I’m not sure the Mets would want to or even should add another late-30’s starting pitcher to the mix.
Now, I am not suggesting either Scherzer or Verlander are going to pitch to their contracts, or even pitch to half of their contracts by the time it’s all said and done. I think it’s pretty evident they’re 5-6 inning pitchers at this point with the occasional gem mixed in between. But again, its only for a couple of more years and the Mets are likely to sign a top shelf starting pitcher in the off-season again anyway, unless they plan to punt 2024 which I can’t believe this owner is going to entertain.
At this point, they might as well do that with both Scherzer and Verlander and try to transition them into mid-to-back of the rotation starting pitchers. That might not be what the club envisioned would happen, but truthfully, it was always a possibility considering the age and mileage they arrived to Flushing with.
If they can do that, and maybe assume a little more risk in the rotation through 2025-2026, then perhaps the Mets will be able to restore credibility and have a rotation capable of contending in the very near-term.
As such, between the risk of moving them and where it would leave them in their rotation, to their trade value with respect to their contract, these two future hall of famers probably still have more value to the Mets than they do in a trade both now and over the next two years.
Around the League 🚩
Shohei Ohtani homered to tie the Yankees in the seventh, and the Angels walked them off in the 10th with a 4-3 win in Anaheim
The Orioles eight-game winning streak ended with a 6-4 loss to the Dodgers in Baltimore
The Rangers walked off the Rays on a wild pitch, winning 3-2 in Arlington in a battle of the best of the American League
The Marlins losing streak is now at 4 games thanks to a 6-4 loss to the lowly Cardinals, who have now won 3 games in a row