Max Scherzer agreed to waive his no-trade clause to be dealt to the Texas Rangers after New York Mets owner Steve Cohen and general manager Billy Eppler told him the club was planning to take a step back next season.
The three-time Cy Young winner said last Friday that he needed to speak with the Mets’ front office about his future and the direction of the team after it moved closer David Robertson to the Miami Marlins.
“I was like, ‘OK, are we reloading for 2024?'” Scherzer said, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. “(Eppler) goes, ‘No, we’re not. Basically, our vision now is for 2025-26, ’25 at the earliest, more like ’26. We’re going to be making trades around that.’
“I was like, ‘So, the team is not going to be pursuing free agents this offseason or assemble a team that can compete for a World Series next year?’ He said, ‘No, we’re not going to be signing the upper-echelon guys. We’re going to be on the smaller deals within free agency. ’24 is now looking to be more of a kind of transitory year.'”
Scherzer added that Eppler told him the Mets were open to trading away players who were going to enter free agency after the 2023 and 2024 seasons. Nine-time All-Star Justin Verlander, who was reportedly dealt back to the Houston Astros on Tuesday, and star first baseman Pete Alonso are noteworthy players in that category.
Alonso said he hasn’t talked to the front office about the possibility of being traded, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.
Eppler was a little less direct about the team’s intentions when talking to the media following the Scherzer deal.
“I do want to be clear that it’s not a rebuild,” Eppler said. “It’s not a fire sale. It’s not a liquidation. This is just a repurposing of Steve’s investment in the club and shifting that investment from the team into the organization.”
The Mets enter Tuesday’s action 17.5 games behind the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves and six out of the final wild-card spot. New York had World Series aspirations heading into the 2023 campaign after putting together the most lucrative roster in MLB history.
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