Baseball Trade Deadline Rangers and Mets Complete Deal with Max Scherzer

Baseball Trade Deadline Rangers and Mets Complete Deal with Max Scherzer

Last Updated: 30 July 2023By

The MLB trade season is here!

While the best players in baseball remain sidelined, one frontline starter has already found a new home with the Angels as Shohei Ohtani has been joined by a big domino falling in Lucas Giolito, who got dealt for the first time. Tuesday evening before 6 PM will see swift action. As per the ET time limit, 20 teams have entered the playoff picture with five or fewer games to play at the end of this week. This can blur the line between buyers (AL, NL) and sellers – some clubs can operate as both – but some teams may also entice their superstar to take up the challenge. Juan Soto or Nolan Arenado, anyone?

Rangers to acquire Mets pitcher Max Scherzer (according to multiple reports) Key stats: 9-4, 4.01 ERA, 107.2 IP, 121 SO, 1.189 WHIP

Also involved: Shortstop Luis Angel Acuña, Rangers’ third-ranked prospect, and Braves superstar Ronald Acuña Jr.’s younger brother, in a 1-for-1 deal. The complexity of this trade caused delays until Saturday evening, involving Scherzer forgiving his no-trade clause, medical reviews of involved players, and Texas sending a significant amount of money to cover the Mets. Excluding the remaining $22.5 million on Scherzer’s contract, all other money, including a $43.3 million player option for 2024, is believed to be selected as part of the trade.

Why it matters:

Instead of holding onto the most expensive roster in MLB history and running on a wild-card spot for an extended period, the Mets’ general manager, Billy Eppler – and owner Steve Cohen – have made their intentions clear for this time frame. In short, it is crucial to take significant steps to improve the team’s future outlook after a highly disappointing season. Clearly, simply doing business with long-time free agents like David Robertson was not enough. Removing Scherzer helps to add talent that can impact the farm system, which is vital for rebuilding.

But it comes at a steep cost. For the wealthiest owner in baseball, Bill – reportedly worth over $35 million – it was an opportunity to propel the Mets farm system forward. Make no mistake, it was not a deal to get money out of the books through bookkeeping trickery. It was a chance to acquire top-level talent through a particular expensive vehicle, something that comes at a much higher cost for any other team playing at this level. However, forget the financial aspect for Texas: what does Scherzer offer them right now? This is undoubtedly a team making a push, with a clear eye on forming a formidable rotation alongside three-time Cy Young winner Nathan Eovaldi, if not the Rangers’ top prospect Jake DeGrom. Derailed for a year due to Tommy John surgery.

For Texas, the financial risk can be minimized, but Scherzer – given his injury history and a slightly down year – cannot be considered a lock at this level. He is still capable of delivering impressive performances, but if the Rangers expect him to become as dominant as he was with the Dodgers two years ago, they might be extremely disappointed. Whatever happens, this move reinforces how well this organization is winning at the moment. It might not work, but you have to give it credit. – Shusterman


July 28: Astros acquire reliever Kendall Graveman from the White Sox.

Key Stats: 3.48 ERA, 44 IP, 42 SO, 1.205 WHIP.

Who else was involved: The Cubs minor league catcher Korey Lee was part of the deal, who was ranked fifth in the Astros pipeline.

Dodgers acquire White Sox starter Lance Lynn, reliever Ryan Tepera.

Key Stats: Lynn: 6-9, 6.47 ERA, 119.2 IP, 144 SO, 1.462 WHIP. Tepera: 4.97 ERA, 29 IP, 41 SO, 1.310 WHIP.

Who else was involved: Chicago’s minor league pitcher Nick Nasrin (ranked 9th in the Dodgers pipeline), minor league pitcher Jordan Leazer, and outfielder Tracey Thompson were acquired.

Why it matters:

The Dodgers are leveraging their ability to capitalize on struggling players in recent years. All four of their deadline acquisitions in 2023 have performed below replacement-level, but have shown past productivity and come at a relatively low cost.

Like the Keibert Ruiz trade, their latest move brings back a familiar face and a fan favorite who was part of their 2020 World Series club. Though highly-talented, Keury Mella has not replicated the success he had with the Dodgers in 2020 (1.80 ERA) or 2021 (2.86 ERA). Over the past two years, he has posted a 5.59 ERA and 1.47 WHIP, the highest of his 12-year career as a reliever. Injuries have limited him to just 29 innings in 2023.

Dodgers showed interest in Lynn in previous years, but this season is different from any of his past, as he holds a career-high 6.47 ERA. However, both Lynn and Tepera share a struggle to find consistency, tied to their ability to miss bats. Kelly’s strikeout rate in the last two years is the best of his career. While he is struggling more this year at the age of 35 with fewer swings and misses, it’s no surprise to see him using his curveball more in Los Angeles. Lynn’s struggles are more complicated. He has allowed more homers than any pitcher in baseball this season and has given up runs at a near-unprecedented rate while striking out far fewer hitters.

Once we see what the Dodgers do in the coming days and how much they accomplish, assessing these moves will become easier. They needed to address their pitching staff at the deadline, hence the flurry of moves. If Lynn can return to his past form, he provides talent at the level of a postseason starter. Additionally, he has a club option for 2024 that could make him more valuable than a rental. The Dodgers are betting this reclamation attempt will go better than the one they recently made with Jose Cisnero, who was shipped to Cleveland for Amed Rosario.

Meanwhile, the White Sox continue to replenish their farm after getting back two of their top prospects in exchange for Lucas Giolito earlier this week. In this deal, they turned struggling two key leaguers into several members of Tulsa’s respected double-A pitching staff. Ranked in the top 10 of Dodgers’ prospects and a fourth-round pick in 2021, Nasrini has improved at each level of A-ball, striking out more than 10 batters per nine innings at every stop. Leazer has a 3.09 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 35 innings for Tulsa. – Kavaner