With the Aug. 1 trade deadline quickly approaching, several teams are monitoring the New York Mets‘ situation and the possibility that they might sell off some of their veterans.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi , the San Francisco Giants are among the teams eyeing two-time World Series champion Justin Verlander as a potential trade deadline target. The 40-year-old has failed to build on his 2022 Cy Young Award-winning season during his first few months in Queens, posting a 3.47 ERA and recording 70 strikeouts across 14 starts.
Morosi notes that in order to complete any deal, Verlander would have to waive the no-trade clause included in the two-year, $86.7M contract he signed this past offseason. Considering Verlander’s recent comments, the nine-time All-Star may be unwilling to do so.
In an interview with The Athletic’s Will Sammon, Verlander reiterated his commitment to New York and owner Steve Cohen. Last month, Cohen held a news conference to address the team’s struggles, telling reporters that he wouldn’t rule out selling at the deadline if things didn’t improve.
“If we continue to put [Cohen] in a position [to sell], we have to accept that,” Verlander said. “But there’s no reason to think it’s like, abandon ship and sell everything and not try to win going forward. That doesn’t seem like his MO. That’s a question for him. I remain committed to trying to win a championship here.
“You don’t know what happens from this,” Verlander added. “It could be one of the best turnarounds in the history of baseball. Maybe. Still could be.”
Even so, it’s reasonable to think Verlander would waive his no-trade clause under the right circumstances. In 2017, he waived a no-trade clause to help facilitate his trade from the Detroit Tigers to the Houston Astros. Although Detroit was committed to launching a rebuild at the time — which the Mets are reluctant to do now — perhaps Verlander would be willing to waive another no-trade clause to join a contender.
The Giants, who sit three games back of first place in the National League West entering Saturday’s action, would likely be an appealing destination for Verlander. Since June 1, the team has been on a tear, compiling a 26-16 record during that span.
The addition of a proven ace like Verlander to a pitching staff that has the third-lowest team ERA in the NL (3.91) could be a decisive factor down the summer stretch.
Despite the Mets’ hopes of salvaging their season, if a team in the pennant race is willing to overpay for Verlander with high-end prospects, they should seriously consider making the move.