NY Mets leave Justin Verlander in the dark at trade deadline

Justin Verlander, New York Mets (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Justin Verlander, New York Mets (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

The New York Mets have not discussed any potential Justin Verlander trades with the All-Star pitcher. 

The New York Mets are six games below .500 and 17.5 games out of first place in the highly competitive NL East. With dreams of a postseason berth all but vanquished, it’s time for Billy Eppler and the front office to think about next season.

Enter the torrent of rumors revolving around future Hall of Fame ace Justin Verlander, who signed a two-year contract worth $86.6 million over the winter. The reigning Cy Young winner was expecting to compete for his third ring in New York, but the Mets’ season has gone sideways. Now, at 40 years old, he’s a natural trade candidate for a team in need of a reset.

That said, Verlander has a full no-trade clause in his contract. If the Mets want to trade him, some level of communication is inherently necessary: he has to approve his destination. That communication hasn’t taken place with less than a week until the Aug. 1 MLB Trade Deadline.

New York Mets have not discussed potential trades with Justin Verlander

The Mets are expected to sell ahead of the deadline, but Verlander did sign a two-year contract (with a vested third-year option). The Mets could theoretically position themselves to compete next season with moves elsewhere on the roster while keeping Verlander, one of the best pitchers in the MLB, in the Big Apple.

There’s still plenty of time for Eppler to come to Verlander with a trade proposition, but moves of this nature — involving all-time greats with no-trade clauses — tend to end up being collaborative efforts. Odds are the Mets won’t shove a potential trade in front of Verlander hours before the deadline. There would have to be dialogue about the direction of the franchise, New York’s plans for next season, and the teams Verlander would have interest in playing for.

Even at his advanced age, Verlander is going to have interested suitors if the front office is ultimately willing to trade him. He led the MLB with a bonkers 1.75 ERA last season with Houston. His numbers have cooled off with the Mets, but a 3.24 ERA with 76 strikeouts and 72 hits in 89 innings pitched is nothing to sneeze at.

The Mets are potentially at an organizational crossroads with Verlander. He’s not the only older pitcher in the rotation: every New York starting pitcher is over 30, with No. 1 starter Max Scherzer clocking in at 38 years old. If Verlander gets dealt, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Scherzer and others follow him out the door. It would not be unwise for the Mets to use this trade deadline to add a few younger arms to the bullpen.

Verlander can still command considerable value on the open market, but right now a trade qualifies as unlikely given the nature of Verlander’s comments. It would appear that both sides are focused on his future with the Mets for now, but a lot can change between now and Aug. 1.

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