The Mets aren’t going anywhere this year. Having spent the month of June finding every possible way to lose a baseball game, the team has plummeted to eight games under .500 with its loss to the Brewers last night at Citi Field.
Believe it or not, the Mets had a winning record when the month began. They had dipped below .500 in May but found a way to bounce back. Their season doesn’t appear to be correcting course now, though, after coming into all of it with very high expectations. The popular projection systems all saw the team either winning the National League East or, at the very least, making the playoffs.
The latter of those options wouldn’t appear to be impossible if you just looked at the math of what’s transpired and what still lies ahead. At eight-and-a-half games back of the third-Wild Card spot Dodgers, with five other teams ahead of them for that spot, sure, anything is possible. But the Mets should be turning the page to 2024. Let’s take a quick look at some of their trade candidates.
Max Scherzer: With a 3.95 ERA and a 4.13 FIP in 13 starts this season, Scherzer hasn’t looked like the pitcher he was just last year. In that season, his first with the Mets, he posted the best single-season ERA of his career, albeit in 145.1 innings, his lowest non-pandemic total since becoming a full-time major league player in 2009. That the results haven’t been terrible this year might helps the Mets, but with the rest of this season and all of next season remaining at $43 million per year, there’s no way he’s opting out of his contract at the end of this one. The Mets will have to eat some money, but a contending team might think they could do a lot worse in the second half than an on-sale version of Scherzer.
Justin Verlander: After missing the the month of April with an injury, Verlander has been pretty pedestrian, putting up a 4.11 ERA and a 4.21 FIP that are pretty similar to what Scherzer has done. Having taken home Cy Young hardware just last season with the Astros, he could very well improve at some point in the near future. But he’s guaranteed $43 million through the 2024 season, too, and if he throws 140 innings and remains healthy enough to begin the 2025 season, he can trigger a player option that keeps that salary going through that season, as well. Again, the Mets would have to eat some—or a lot of—money. But maybe they can work a deal, leaning on his name and track record and presenting him as something of a deal thanks to eaten salary.
David Robertson: Here’s where things start to sound a bit more realistic. Robertson signed a one-year deal with the Mets over the offseason, and he’s been nothing short of fantastic. In 34.0 innings, he has a 1.59 ERA and a 2.88 FIP. If the Mets were any good, his work filling the void created by the Edwin Díaz injury would be getting a lot of attention. The 38-year-old was very good last year, too, pitching for the Cubs and the Phillies. He seems destined to end up with a contending team again this year and might be the easiest player for the team to trade.