NY Mets Trade Rumors: Max Scherzer or José Berrios?
By Brad LaPlante
It’s trade deadline season and the New York Mets trade rumors are in full swing. Reports of them acquiring Minnesota’s Josh Donaldson, the Chicago Cubs’ Kris Bryant or Javier Báez, or the Rockies’ Trevor Story are all possibilities that exist.
Regardless of which of these Mets trade rumors may come true, their position need is as follows (in order of priority): starting pitching, relief pitching, and a position player.
Thankfully, their friends in Washington aren’t doing so hot and have transitioned completely into sell mode. Who can they offer? Just ask Max Scherzer.
Mets trade rumors suggest they could get Scherzer or José Berrios, but which?
Both are fine starting pitchers. Max Scherzer began his career with the Detroit Tigers but didn’t really stand out until he became the ace of the Washington Nationals in 2015. He’s an eight-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner, led the NL in strikeouts from 2016-2018, pitched two no-hitters in 2015 alone, and pitched an immaculate inning in 2017 and 2018.
Max Scherzer’s seven-year contract is set to expire at the end of the season. The Nationals clearly got value for him, between his stat sheet alone and the fact that they won their first World Series since relocating from Montreal to Washington, DC in 2005.
If Scherzer comes to the Mets, they would instantly have one of the best 1-2-3 punches in the starting rotation between Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman (both top 10 in MLB ERA). It’s still unclear if Washington’s GM Mike Rizzo would be willing to deal with a division rival.
As Bleacher Report mentions:
"Under different circumstances, Rizzo’s stance would make sense. You don’t want to make yourself worse while simultaneously strengthening a division rival if you can avoid it.But FanGraphs gives the Nationals a 1.3 chance of making the playoffs.The door to the postseason is closing fast for Washington, and trading Scherzer to New York doesn’t preclude the team from re-signing him or guarantee he sign with the Mets.Given his contract status, the Nats don’t have a ton of leverage in negotiations. If the Mets can put together an attractive trade package, then Rizzo would be foolish not to listen."
In theory, dealing Scherzer to the Mets could make sense. Even if Scherzer helps the Mets in the short-term, it seems unlikely that they would re-sign the 36-year-old in the offseason. The Mets already have Jacob deGrom, who is far more likely to stick around in the long run, and Scherzer is coming off of a year where he made $27 million, so his price is high.
On the flip side, a Scherzer trade implies that the Mets give away high-value prospects, which could work out for the Nationals. It’s unlikely that they’d be willing to touch Brett Baty (#4) or Francisco Alvarez (#1), but a top-5 prospect and a top-25 prospect may get the job done.
Max Scherzer could also veto any trade he’s in.
José Berrios may work out for the Mets long-term.
Minnesota’s José Berrios could be a viable long-term solution for the Mets. Unfortunately, the recent Scherzer development could mean that he’s off-limits and the Mets trade rumors with his name in it are a thing of the past.
Berrios is in his last year of arbitration next year, meaning he won’t become an unrestricted free agent until 2023. Even the thought of trading him for prospects could be unlikely, but it’s not impossible. It would just take a big pitch to sell this trade.
If Berrios is traded, he could become a big part of the rotation moving forward in 2022 and onward. He could be involved in a trade package along with third baseman Josh Donaldson, a positional need the Mets have floated. Donaldson would be more of a commitment for the Mets since he’s locked down until 2023 with a 2024 club option, making $21 million per year.
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If the Mets can’t land either Scherzer or Berrios, Cincinnati’s Jon Gray is another name that’s been discussed. Still, the Mets need another starting pitcher if they want to compete in the playoffs. Even with the addition of Rich Hill, their biggest need is pitching. Thankfully, Tylor Megill has been a godsend and they’ll have Carrasco back soon, but a team can never have too many pitchers.