The New York Mets made major headlines over the weekend as they traded future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer to the Texas Rangers in a high-profile deal.
The trade raised questions about the Mets future plans, but General Manager Billy Eppler was quick to emphasize that the team is not going through a complete rebuild.
“I do want to be clear that it’s not a rebuild. It’s not a fire sale,” Eppler stated confidently during a press conference at Citi Field on Sunday. “It’s not a liquidation.”
“I do want to be clear that it's not a rebuild. It's not a fire sale. It's not a liquidation. This is just a repurposing of Steve's investment in the club.” #LGM
~ Billy Eppler on the Max Scherzer trade. pic.twitter.com/JTLYsXEg5i
— GENY Mets Report (@genymets) July 30, 2023
The trade involved Scherzer waiving his no-trade clause to join the AL West-leading Texas Rangers. In exchange, the Mets acquired minor league infielder Luisangel Acuna, the younger brother of Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr.
Acuna is regarded as one of the top prospects in Texas’ farm system.
The 39-year-old Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, had been a key part of the Mets plans for next season. His departure left some uncertainty, leading to speculation about the future of another star pitcher, Justin Verlander.
“I think it largely depends on how the organization views next year,” Verlander commented when asked about the possibility of being traded. “I think Max is a tough sign for trying to go back at it. So, I’m committed to trying to win a championship here, but if the organization decides that’s not the direction they want to go, then yeah, I would be more open to it.”
The feeling around the Mets clubhouse was one of shock and disbelief. However, no one should be surprised at what Eppler and Owner Steve Cohen are doing. The players could have prevented all of this had they played up to at least a shred of their potential. But instead, they have managed to be undoubtedly the most disappointing and underperforming team in all of baseball.
This all despite having the largest payroll in Major League Baseball.. The 2023 season has been a complete disaster for the Mets. Plain and simple.
Eppler assured that he was engaged in conversations with various teams about Scherzer and that Verlander’s status is still being evaluated. The Mets front office is contemplating their next steps, and more trades could occur before tomorrow’s deadline.
Following the trade, Mets players expressed concerns about who might be dealt next, but Eppler was quick to communicate with key players like center fielder Brandon Nimmo and star shortstop Francisco Lindor, reassuring them that the team is not dismantling.
“They understand,” Eppler said. “It’s not a fire sale and it’s not a liquidation. So they got it.”
Francisco Lindor says he has a better understanding of the Mets' vision after speaking with Billy Eppler:
"I'm here for a long time. I'm here to try to win championships but also be part of an amazing organization." pic.twitter.com/bC4uEAXd4h
— SNY (@SNYtv) July 30, 2023
The arrival of Luisangel Acuna injects excitement into the team’s future prospects, and Eppler is eager to integrate the highly-rated prospect into their system.
“Ultra-athleticism,” Eppler described Acuna’s strengths. “The arm strength, the hit ability. He’s working on lifting the ball a little bit more and just being able to get the ball airborne a touch more. Strong plate discipline, strong contact skills. Just really excited to get a prospect of his caliber into our system.”
With tomorrow’s deadline quickly approaching, all eyes will be on Verlander in particular. The Dodgers are said to be focused on working out a trade for the future Hall of Famer.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and FOX Sports reported: “The buzz around the Dodgers and Verlander among scouts is growing louder. The match seems obvious, even though the Dodgers likely would be uncomfortable with Verlander’s conditional option that guarantees him $35 million at age 42 in 2025 if he pitches 140 innings next season. But Cohen paid $36 million to extract a top 100 prospect out of the Rangers for Scherzer. Surely he can figure out a way out for Verlander, too. If Verlander is willing.”
Either way, it’s safe to say Eppler’s phone will be quite active over the next day.
What do you think the Mets should do?