Max Scherzer might just be the greatest pitcher of his generation. A trio of Cy Young Awards with wins in both leagues, eight times a finisher within the Top 5 of said votings, a World Series title, and a better career ERA and ERA+ than his current New York Mets teammate Justin Verlander dot his card.
It’s splitting hairs between those two, really, with a very honorable mention due to Zack Greinke. Speaking solely of the Mets here, though, they’re 35-43 despite their gargantuan spending spree from the winter, buried in 4th place in the NL East behind a trio of teams who - thanks to the brilliance of Marlins manager Skip Schumaker - all very much believe they belong there, too. That has sparked speculation that Scherzer, who’s on a one-year deal with a no-trade clause, might be willing to waive said clause if he’s got a destination that he deems desirable to land in trade.
I know of one division leader that could sure use some starting pitching.
The problem is, though, that there are probably six division leaders who could use some starting pitching in this day and age, with another handful of Wild Card contenders who could, too. For the same reasons why I detailed last week that it would be very, very much a seller’s market when it comes to moving starting pitching, the Mets may well find themselves demanding a ransom should Scherzer agree to be moved, even though he’s making a mammoth $43.333 million for the entirety of this season.
He’d be the top starter out there, obviously, and there’s a thirst for starting pitching everywhere. Add in that Steve Cohen, the richest owner in baseball, might be willing to eat some cash to make the return for Scherzer that much better and...
...well, it’s fun to dream about Max Scherzer being a part of this Cincinnati Reds pitching staff. That dream, though, is almost a billion percent sure to be just that - a dream.
That dream becomes a bit more fun to entertain when you factor in the news that Hunter Greene is expected to be out into the month of August, as Gordon Wittenmeyer of The Enquirer relayed. The hip issue isn’t expected to be something that’s debilitating long-term but he’s going to need to go through a strengthening program to get it back in shape, and that’s just going to take the kind of time that this pitching staff can’t really afford as currently constructed. Losing both he and Nick Lodolo whilst Graham Ashcraft implodes is absolutely the worst-case scenario for a pitching staff that was, by design, paper thin at season’s outset, and we’re watching that scenario play out completely at the moment.
In more entertaining news, Jeff Passan of ESPN.com has a deep dive on Cincinnati Reds star rookie Elly De La Cruz and his twin brother Pedro that’s very much worth a read.
Finally, Chris Gilligan of FanGraphs has a closer look at the jumbled playoff odds as we head into the second half of this 2023 Major League Baseball season. You’ll be happy to know that one team in particular has increased their odds since the start of the year in an eye-catching way.