Could the Mets look to offload big pitching contracts at the deadline?

The 2023 Mets season has been nothing short of a disaster, as despite having the highest payroll in baseball history, the Amazins are 42-50 and nine games out of the last wild card spot.

The team’s struggles, combined with the high payroll, have general manager Billy Eppler in an interesting spot regarding the trade deadline.

Experts have the Mets set to take a hybrid approach, selling veterans on expiring deals and keeping those under contract past 2023 in hopes of continuing to compete this season.

However, the Mets may go for a full retool and trade their two expensive aces.

Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer’s 2023 in Queens.

Justin Verlander has struggled in his first year in Queens. The 40-year-old started 2023 on the injured list with a low-grade teres major strain and did not pitch until May 4th. 

Since debuting with the blue and orange, Verlander has pitched 75 innings across 13 starts to a 3.72 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP.

Verlander has had some signature performances but has yet to be even close to the dominant starter he was just a year ago.

After a successful 2022 in Queens, Max Scherzer has struggled in 2023. The 38-year-old has pitched 87.2 innings across 16 starts to a 4.31 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP.

Scherzer, like Verlander, has been dominant at times but doesn’t look close to his 2022 self.

It is certainly possible that the Mets trade both Verlander and Scherzer, but it seems more likely that the Mets would just trade one and hope to compete with the other in 2024.

Scherzer seems like the one to be moved.

While yes, Verlander could be moved, Scherzer seems to be the one circulating more in the rumors. The 38-year-old  is in the second year of his three-year 130 million-dollar contract.

The three-time Cy Young Award has a no-trade clause but has said he could waive it if the “right situation” arose. 

Scherzer is two years younger than Verlander and only has one year left on his deal which could intrigue teams to pay more prospect-wise, especially if Steve Cohen is willing to send cash alongside Scherzer.

Regardless if the Mets decide to hang on to their aces or deal them away, the 2023 trade deadline could be the most crucial one in recent franchise history.