Could the New York Mets move some of their star players?

The New York Mets have dug themselves into quite the hole. Staring at a 17.5 game deficit from first place, seven games back from the Miami Marlins in third, the Mets, who finished with a 101-61 record a season ago, have struggled to turn their season around, sitting in fourth place in the NL East with a 47-54 record.

Although injury setbacks have played a familiar role with the Mets once more this season, it has been a marvel to see the team with the highest payroll in the MLB find itself in such a tough midseason rut that could thwart their chances at a playoff berth. But what’s to blame? Hitting, pitching, or both?

Despite being able to make a case for one or the other, the reality of the matter is that it’s been a team effort from both. On the one hand, you have an offense that is 27th in the league in hits (792), 21st in batting average (.237), 20th in OPS (.717), and 19th in OBP (.317). But then, on the other hand, you have a pitching unit that is 18th in batting average against (.246), 18th in ERA (4.37), 21st in WHIP (1.35), and 23rd in home runs conceded (129).

That all being said, the season is long, and the Mets, surprisingly, still have a shot at making the playoffs. However, chunky win streaks need to pick up regularly over the remainder of the season. And with the trade deadline coming up on August 1st, the Mets very well might want to address some of their most pressing concerns by trading away some of their best stars for quality talent in return.

But who could face the exit door come the deadline? Here are five Mets players that could be traded by August 1st.

The Mets could look to offload some of their star players:

Justin Verlander – SP

Some of you might be shocked by this selection. But can you be after the start he’s had to the 2023 season? Despite missing over a month of playing time, Verlander has not had a smooth transition in his debut campaign with the Mets, and starting pitching has been one of their greatest concerns all year.

In 15 starts this season, Verlander is 5-5 with a 3.24 ERA and has given up 32 earned runs and 9 home runs. Mind you, he had 34 earned runs and just 12 home runs given up in 175.0 innings pitched in his Cy Young-winning season last year with the Astros. Although Verlander is 40 years old, he also happens to be not only the same pitcher that won two of his three Cy Young Awards in two of his last three seasons, but he also happens to be one of the most expensive players on the Mets this season, costing $43.3 million a year.

Momentarily, Verlander has already received some serious interest from the San Francisco Giants, and others could pitch offers for him in the coming days. Whether the Mets will want to accept the offers presented is a different story. Verlander is nearing the end of his career as is and has yet to showcase that he will be that much better over the second part of the season.

Tommy Pham – OF

One area that has taken its toll of injuries has been the outfield, particularly with the recent loss of Starling Marte was placed on the 10-day IL due to migraines. But despite the loss, the Mets have tapped into their depth pieces, and outfielder Tommy Pham has been one of them that has thrived.

In 75 games played this season (251 plate appearances), Pham is hitting .271 with 9 home runs, 35 RBIs, and 11 stolen bases. So if he’s doing so well, why is he on this list? Pham is on this list for trade value. The Mets don’t have many stars they will want to give up easily beside a select few, and with Mark Canha and now DJ Stewart as other backups the Mets could deploy, Pham could be used to bring in another quality talent for either the bullpen or the outfield.

Whether this will actually happen is left to be determined or even seriously rumored about. At 35 years old, Pham certainly has plenty in the tank but also has struggled to maintain this kind of success over his last three seasons, making the trade appeal not as enticing as it might seem.

David Robertson – CP

The Mets’ new closer has stepped in nicely for the injured Edwin Díaz since he arrived. In 40 games played (44 innings pitched), Robertson has kept his ERA to an excellent 2.05 mark to go with 48 strikeouts and 14 saves. The Mets bullpen certainly has been to blame for the pitching’s rocky start to an extent this season. But one of the special exceptions of the group has been none other than Robertson himself.

Because Robertson will be a free agent next season, the Mets could possibly target a trade that would ship him out for a couple of important assets. Lots of teams are in need for a strong, veteran closer. Though Robertson is certainly reaching the tail end of his career, he still has plenty to offer and has illustrated that reality throughout the season so far. And the Mets might want to take advantage of the value they could get in return for a closer like him.

Mark Canha – LF

If there’s any other positional player the Mets could look to send over in a trade package, it could be left fielder Mark Canha. Though his offensive numbers don’t scream out at you (he has a .235 batting average in 285 plate appearances to go with 6 home runs, 28 RBIs, and a .338 OBP), Canha also happens to be an underrated and versatile defensive asset teams can deploy in the outfield or at first base, presenting much more value than the numbers portray.

Moving both Canha and Pham is unlikely for the Mets, and it’s still unclear who the Mets favor more. But if the Mets do opt to act on a sizable trade package to secure some quality talent that could boost their playoff odds, Canha could very well be included instead of Pham.

Max Scherzer – SP

Max Scherzer too?! Although Scherzer is the more unlikely candidate of the two Mets aces to be traded by the deadline, he’s by no means off limits. In 18 games started this year (100.2 innings pitched), Scherzer has an 8-4 record to show for but has an ERA of 4.20 and has already allowed 47 earned runs and 22 home runs, both of which surpassed his totals from 2022.

At 38 years old, Scherzer has certainly made several fans and experts alike doubt his ability to produce at the same high level he has for the last five-plus seasons. And seeing the Mets are paying him a hefty $43.3 million a year, they might want to cash in on a worthwhile trade deal while they still can before having to deal with any more damage Scherzer might inflict with his shaky play.

What comes down to the unlikelihood of the Mets finding success with trading Scherzer is appeal, seeing he’s pitching well-below expectations. But the Mets have found themselves in a state of desperation, and if Scherzer attracts a great deal with plenty of talent to be had in return, the Mets could very well pull the trigger and trade their ace of one and a half seasons.