Pros and cons of the Mets trading Justin Verlander if they’re deadline sellers

May 27, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) delivers
May 27, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) delivers / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Nobody expected the New York Mets to become trade deadline sellers this year. They’re not quite there yet. There are more rows of tracks for them to get it right.

The Mets have some obvious trade candidates. Anyone with an expiring contract after this season and no player option is fair game. Someone who doesn’t fit into this description is Justin Verlander.

Imagine that. Only 7 starts into his Mets career and the idea of trading Verlander isn’t preposterous. Or is it? The idea of folding up camp and waiting for next year already is completely weak and the Mets should remain steadfast in actually making something of this year. If they fail, it’s going to be a lot different.

Pros of the NY Mets trading Justin Verlander

This is all under the situation where the Mets are so completely and utterly out of the wild card race. There are 8 games between them and the leaders and another 5 or 6 clubs stacked in between. Mathematically, they’re alive. Our hearts and brains tell us otherwise. So does our courage. Let’s not leave out the Cowardly Lion.

The pros of trading Verlander in a sell-off year are obvious. It’s a reboot. It’s a napkin to wipe the egg off the face. Being able to move on from Verlander this quickly would be the ultimate eject button. Even if you do have faith in him turning things around, two $20 million players are usually better than one earning over $40.

It’s not even about the money in the end. More so, it’s about how Verlander hasn’t pitched well enough for us to believe he’ll be anything like his 2022 Cy Young self. At 2-3 with a 4.85 ERA this year and 7 home runs allowed already in 39 innings, the scary thing would be to go through this all over again next year. And then maybe again in 2024 if he manages to stay healthy and eat innings for them.

You want a good Halloween costume? Verlander on the 2024 Mets might win scariest.

Cons of the NY Mets trading Justin Verlander

There are cons because of the circumstances we know would be involved in such a deal. The Mets aren’t going to get away with trading him and not paying a large chunk of his $43.3 million owed next season. Not even close. They’re on the hook for almost all of it right now even if they gave Verlander away. He is not a desirable ace any longer.

No team is out there believing Verlander is their missing piece. Even if he goes on a hot streak through the trade deadline, which might mean the Mets are actually playing well, why would they want to do Steve Cohen any financial favors? Trading Verlander away and paying even half of his salary only to get little in return feels like an immediate loss. The prospects they’d get back wouldn’t be particularly good ones either. Everything about it stinks.

What should the NY Mets do with Justin Verlander if they sell?

The only reasonable course the Mets may be able to take is to hold on for dear life and hope next year is better. Maybe some sort of a contract swap in the offseason could be possible, but how many highly-priced players out there would match up well alongside him? You’re probably more likely to get a rebound season out of him in 2024 than you would from a guy another ball club is willing to dump on you.

It’s an unusual situation for the money to be a problem for everyone but the Mets. Cohen may have a limit on how much he’s willing to spend. Unfortunately, there’s no receipt with Verlander. He has been taken out of the box and the value has sunk.