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NY Mets: Obligatory exploration into a Max Scherzer trade to Queens

May 25, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) pitches against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
May 25, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) pitches against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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Max Scherzer has become this year’s trade deadline darling. I don’t think his recent injury will change this. Even if he is dealing with some aches and pains, as long as the future Hall of Famer and current Washington Nationals pitcher is able to stand on his own around July 31, he should be a guy we see mentioned in an abundance of trade rumors near the deadline. The New York Mets, with a need for starting pitching, would seem to be a prime landing spot for Scherzer, wouldn’t they?

That’s about where I stop dreaming of a Mets team that signs Scherzer’s paychecks. Is he a fit on the merit of pitching well and playing a position of need? You bet!

Beyond this, there is one major reason why the Mets will never acquire Scherzer: the Nationals are not going to hand us a championship.

Max Scherzer would be great for the Mets, but there’s an NL East tax I cannot see the front office paying

We learned two things about the Mets over the winter. One is that they have a maximum set price on any free agents. This is what allowed guys like Trevor Bauer to slip away into the night. It’s a smart business move and has actually benefitted the club by not having too much salary committed to one particular position.

The other lesson I took away is that the Mets have faith in their farm system. At the very least, they’re trying to build it further and get better.

Even as a rental, Scherzer is going to cost a ton. He’s the kind of pitcher you add to the rotation and book a parade immediately. Once again on his way to a terrific season, the only thing that can get in his way is father time aka a broken down body.

Scherzer is on his way to reaching 2,500 innings this year as a big leaguer. This doesn’t count warmup pitches, minor league outings, the playoffs, or long tosses in the outfield. Mad Max’s arm has been taxed plenty over the years and you better believe the Nationals would tax the Mets equally as hard in any potential trade for this decade-long ace.

Yeah, but what would it actually cost the Mets?

I reached out to Max Rayman of District on Deck for his take on the situation. A D.C. sports enthusiast who covers the Nationals and happens to share a first name with the pitcher in question, I couldn’t think of anyone better.

Here’s what Rayman had to say:

"“For me personally because we’re in the same division I would say AT LEAST one of Alvarez, Mauricio, Allan, or Baty. Granted he’s a rental but you don’t give up your ace of the past seven seasons to a rival for a normal package.”"

I know this is coming from a Washington fan perspective so we do need to consider lesser packages as an option. I do agree with him, though. The price, whatever it is, should be heavily taxed with some interest and maybe a firstborn son or two.

Trading for Scherzer is a little different from trading for other aces. The Nationals aren’t rebuilding. Trading him now is about getting something back to help them reload for the future. With intent to compete next year, selling Scherzer for less than they feel he’s worth isn’t going to happen.

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So unless the Mets willingly part with some of their best farmhands or cast a spell, Scherzer isn’t going to put on orange and blue this year. And I think most fans are cool with it. Trades have a give and take. Unfortunately for those dreaming of seeing Mad Max call Flushing home, there’s too much to give in order to get the take.

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