The New York Mets have begun making moves. David Robertson was first to go, and Max Scherzer was the big surprise. Guys like Tommy Pham and Mark Canha should be traded before the deadline, but one name everyone is discussing is Justin Verlander.
With the Mets trading Scherzer, it's unclear what their plans are with their other future Hall of Fame ace. Do they keep him and intend to compete in 2024, or do they trade him and try and continue to stock up what will be a much-improved farm system?
A Verlander trade is one I'd deem unlikely. There're a lot of moving parts like his age, contract, and amount he'd demand in return prospect-wise. With the Mets not interested in a full on rebuild, Verlander is obviously a guy they'd want to keep.
If Verlander is traded, the Orioles make a lot of sense as a team for the Mets to work with. They're in first place in the AL East, and the only thing they really lack is a bonafide ace. Verlander is exactly that. They have one of, if not the best prospect pools in the game for the Mets to pick from. While Jackson Holliday is unlikely to be available, there're three other players the Mets should be demanding from Baltimore if a trade did go down.
1) NY Mets Justin Verlander trade target: Grayson Rodriguez
Not too long ago, Grayson Rodriguez was one of the best prospects in all of baseball. The 6'5 right-hander has had a rocky start to his MLB career, but is absolutely an arm the Mets should target for Verlander.
Rodriguez began the year on the Opening Day roster but had a rough start to his season. He had an ERA of 7.35 through his first ten starts of the year, causing the Orioles to send him down to the minors. Rodriguez went back to dominating as he posted a 1.96 ERA in his eight starts in AAA before being recalled in mid-July.
Since his recall, Rodriguez has shown why he was so highly touted. A 3.18 in his last three starts including 6.1 scoreless innings against the Yankees his last time out. Rodriguez has a fastball that can reach triple digits and devastating offspeed stuff.
The Mets likely won't get a player who will ever be as good as Verlander is right now, but Rodriguez is one of the better high-potential young pitchers they can realistically acquire.