Posted on: July 30, 2023, 11:03h.
Last updated on: July 30, 2023, 11:05h.
The fire sale continues for the disappointing New York Mets. The Texas Rangers acquired right-handed pitcher Max Scherzer in a trade with the Mets in exchange for talented prospect Luisangel Acuna.
The Rangers (60-45) are in first place in the AL West, but hold a narrow one-game lead over the defending champion Houston Astros. The Rangers are the highest scoring team in baseball and average 5.77 runs per game, but they upgraded their starting rotation with a future Hall of Fame hurler like Scherzer.
Scherzer, who recently turned 39-year-old, is an 8-time All-Star. He won the Cy Young award three times between 2013 and 2017. He led the majors in wins four times in his career, and led the NL in strikeouts three times.
Scherzer previously played for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Detroit Tigers, Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Mets. The Rangers will be his sixth team since making his big-league debut in 2008.
Scherzer tossed two no-hitters during the 2015 season, which marked his first season with the Nationals. He eventually led the Nationals to a World Series victory in 2019.
Scherzer earned a 10-game suspension earlier this season for using an illegal substance against the Dodgers in April.
Mets Selling at the Trade Deadline
The Mets are 49-55 and occupy fourth place in the NL East. They are seven games out of the NL Wild Card race with four teams ahead of them on the bubble.
The three spots in the NL Wild Card is still up for grabs with five teams within one game of each other. The Mets made a command decision to be a seller at the trade deadline instead of a buyer like the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Mets are in the process of breaking up their team with an expensive payroll that vastly failed to live up to offseason expectations. They parted ways with a veteran pitcher with a hefty contract like Scherzer, and were able to add a top prospect in return with Acuna.
The trade deadline is on Tuesday, and the Mets might not be finished with their house cleaning. Several teams are interested in acquiring ace Justin Verlander in a trade including the Astros, Dodgers, Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles, and Cincinnati Reds .
The Rangers were willing to sacrifice Acuna, who the #3 ranked prospect in their organization, to improve their chances to win their franchise’s first World Series.
Acuna is the younger brother of Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna, Jr. The 21-year-old Acuna is a multi-positional player who can thrive in centerfield or play both middle infield positions.
Acuna excelled with the Rangers’ affiliate in Double-A. He hit .315 with seven home runs and 51 RBI in 82 games with Frisco Rough Riders. The speedy Acuna also stole 42 bases.
Rangers Add Scherzer for Postseason Run
The Mets unloaded relief pitcher David Robinson the other day, which indicated they gave up on the season and were dismantling the team. Scherzer was bummed out about the trade, but shouldered some of the responsibility.
Disappointed, obviously, we put ourselves in this position,” said Scherzer. “We haven’t played well enough as a team. I’ve had a hand in that for why we’re in the position that we’re at. Can’t get mad at anybody but yourself, but it stinks.”
Scherzer is 9-4 with a 4.01 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 19 starts with the Mets. He also struck out 121 batters, but struggled on the mound at times this season. He allowed 23 home runs in 107-plus innings, which leads the NL.
Scherzer waived his no-trade clause to facilitate the trade to the Rangers. He had a player option for the final year of his contract in 2024, but opted in as part of the terms trade and will pitch for the Rangers next season. The Mets will cover most of his remaining contract. The Rangers will pay Scherzer $22.5 million while the Mets are on the hook for $35 million.
The Rangers were shopping for a veteran pitcher with postseason experience after Jacon deGrom suffered an elbow injury and underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in June.
Futures Market Watch: Rangers, Astros in Close Battle
Four out of six divisions feature a tight race with only 1.5 games separating first and second place in the AL East, AL Central, AL West, and NL Central.
The Rangers lost two games in a row, but still cling to a one-game lead over the Astros. The Astros are a slight favorite to win the AL West for a third-straight season at -105 odds, according to DraftKings. The Rangers are +115 odds to win the division for the first time since 2016.
In the latest postseason projection from FanGraphs, the Astros are the favorite to win the AL West at 52.6%. The Rangers have a 73.5% chance to punch their ticket to the playoffs with a 39.8% chance to win the division, and a 33.7% chance to advance via the AL Wild Card.
The Astros seek a third consecutive AL pennant, and they’re the consensus favorite to clinch the AL pennant at +370 odds. The Rangers are +550 odds to win their first AL pennant since 2011.
The Braves are the consensus favorite to win the 2023 World Series at +330 odds, and they’re ahead of the Dodgers (+500), Astros (+800), Rays (+850) and Rangers (+1100).
The Rangers made back-to-back appearances in the World Series in 2010 and 2011, but they have never won a championship. FanGraphs estimates the Rangers have a 5.3% chance to win the World Series this year.