The Mets’ weekend series against the Nationals started out well, but things went downhill quickly. Not in the win-loss column — they took three of four from Washington. However, they did it while trading away David Robertson and Max Scherzer. It seems like Justin Verlander will stay put. If he doesn’t, it sounds like the Dodgers are the only logical landing spot left for the three-time Cy Young Award winner.
Verlander won his 250th career game in Sunday’s finale. He also got a nice hand from the Citi Field crowd as he walked off the mound for the last time. You know, just in case it was his final start as a member of the Mets. He didn’t sound as annoyed after the game as Max Scherzer did following his own start on Friday. But, his tune certainly changed:
"I'm committed to try and win a championship here, but if the organization decides that that's not the direction that's best fit for next year, I'd be open to it"
– Justin Verlander on if he would waive his no-trade clause pic.twitter.com/X35MzmFOXb
— SNY (@SNYtv) July 30, 2023
In talking about trading Scherzer once it became official, general manager Billy Eppler said he only gave surface details to Max before Friday’s game. While he’s a pro and a veteran that’s been through it before, Eppler didn’t want to provide another distraction.
Obviously, JV sounds a little concerned about the Mets’ outlook for next year, and rightfully so. He probably hasn’t gotten a bunch of details as it is. But now that his final start before the deadline is in the books, he’ll hopefully get clued in on what’s going on, the likelihood of a deal coming together, and what New York’s plan is for next year.
Verlander has generated quite a bit of interest. Even though he’s 40 years old and has a huge contract, he’s still a future Hall of Famer with postseason experience. Posting a 1.49 ERA over his past seven starts doesn’t hurt, either.
Rumors circulated about the Astros trying to reacquire him, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. Could he move across town to the Yankees? That’s even more unlikely. The Braves have also checked in on JV’s availability. But thankfully, the likelihood of that getting serious got squashed before I started banging my head against the wall. One club that’s been linked to the right-hander for a while — and remains that way — is the Dodgers.
New York eventually wants to be the East Coast version of the Dodgers. They have plenty of young talent that’d entice the Mets to make a trade. And after offering him a two-year, $80 million contract before he landed in Queens, they also have the financial prowess to deal with his high price tag.
After seeing the Mets pay down a significant chunk of Scherzer’s contract, though, you’d have to think Los Angeles has asked for something similar. Even though buzz among scouts regarding JV and the Dodgers is “growing louder“, SNY’s Andy Martino has also reported the Mets value the right-hander differently:
The Mets are listening when teams call on Justin Verlander, but are placing an extremely high value on him — which on Sunday led to a growing belief in the industry that Verlander will stay put through Tuesday’s deadline, according to multiple rival executives.
Teams expecting the type of salary relief that the Mets gave the Texas Rangers for Max Scherzer — approximately $35 million — are finding that the Mets are valuing Verlander differently. Trading partners wanting cash in a Verlander trade are finding the prospect ask much higher.
The Dodgers have been aggressive with midseason acquisitions as they look to make another postseason push. Verlander would help, but how desperate are they? Could taking on more of his salary impact how they go after Shohei Ohtani this winter? Will Verlander decide he wants out after getting his own conversation with Mets brass?
There are lots of variables going on here. And, depending on L.A.’s pursuit of rotation help elsewhere, this could drag on right until Tuesday’s 6 p.m. EDT deadline.