2) Raw NY Mets scapegoat: Justin Verlander
There’s a lot left in Justin Verlander. He is proving to the Mets lately how right they were to believe age ain’t nothing but a number. After starting the year on the IL only to return in early May with a new pace of the game to figure out, Verlander has settled in and looked much more like his old self. In terms of scapegoats, he’s the rawest of all.
Any thought of trading Verlander needs to end. He isn’t giving the Mets a $43 million performance this year, but how many free agents ever fully live up to those big contracts?
Verlander is now 5-5 with a 3.24 ERA on the season. Other than the record, which we learned from Jacob deGrom years ago doesn’t fall on the pitcher, Verlander is looking much more like himself. The ERA is an exact match of his career earned run average. And although his walk rate has doubled from last year to 3 per 9 and his strikeouts are way down to 7.7 per 9, run prevention ultimately matters more than anything else.
His last two starts have been especially promising with 8 innings of one run ball against the Chicago White Sox followed by six shutout frames versus the New York Yankees in the Bronx.
Verlander has something left to offer the Mets. Even if the expiration date might pass for most players his age, this player has flavor left.