The Mets Trade Max Scherzer

The MLB trade deadline is upon us but before the last-second drama hits, the Mets and Rangers made what could be an important trade.  The Mets appear to have thrown in the towel for 2023 and perhaps the Mets have abandoned their philosophy for building a championship contender.  Recall that the Mets chose to enter 2023 with a payroll that dwarfed every other MLB team in history; they had guaranteed contracts to players totaling more than $350M and more than a handful of those players were long in the tooth.  Over the weekend, the Mets traded away one of those big contracts (to 39-year-old Max Scherzer) and received in return a top minor league prospect from the Rangers.

On the surface, this deal is very simple to assess.  Here is the deal:

  • Rangers get Max Scherzer – – owed about $57M through the end of 2024.
  • Mets get Luisangel Acuna – – younger brother of the Braves’ Ronald Acuna, Jr.
  • Rangers pay Scherzer $22.5M.
  • Mets pay Scherzer the rest of what he is owed.

The easy way to look at this is that the Rangers have committed to “win now”; they lead the AL West Division this morning by 1 game over the Astros with the Angels and the Mariners lurking only about 5 games off the lead.  The Rangers have had some pitching injuries and need to bolster the starting rotation; Scherzer is a sure-fire Hall of Famer, so he fits in there like a glove.  If Luisangel Acuna turns out to be as good as his big brother, then the Mets will have won the trade over the long haul, but that remains to be seen.  MLB has a robust history of siblings who have played in the major leagues where one sibling is significantly better than the other:

  • Greg Maddux and Mike Maddux
  • George Brett and Ken Brett
  • Gaylord Perry and Jim Perry
  • Henry Aaron and Tommy Aaron
  • Joe DiMaggio and Dom DiMaggio and Vince DiMaggio …

That the Rangers have committed to winning now is confirmed by another trade they made over the weekend with the Cardinals.  In that deal:

  • Rangers get pitchers Jordan Montgomery and Chris Stratton
  • Cards get reliver John King and two minor league prospects.

That the Mets may be changing their approach to team building might be confirmed later today if the rumors that Justin Verlander is also available for a trade materialize into another deal.  Another signal could show itself based on how the Mets position Luisangel Acuna in their minor league system.  The younger Acuna is a shortstop and a center fielder; the Mets are paying Francisco Lindor about $34M per year through the end of the 2031 season to play shortstop.  Hmmm …

Mets’ owner, Steve Cohen is purportedly the richest of the MLB owners; Forbes says his net worth is $17.6B.  Is he adjusting his approach to team building or is he merely shedding some big contracts that he does not think have paid off properly?  As far as I am concerned, the answer to that question is as interesting as the answer to the question:

  • Can Luisangel Acuna live up to his brother’s example?

Cohen bought the Mets after the truncated 2020 season paying $2.4B for the club.  At the time he said his goal was to have the Mets “win the World Series” sometime over a “three to five year” time span.  This year marks the third year of his ownership and the Mets have yet to win the NL East let alone the World Series.  Cohen made his fortune managing hedge funds so the idea of changing one’s strategy/tactics as new information becomes available is certainly something he is familiar with.  I will be very interested in watching Mets’ personnel moves over the next year or two.

Moving on …  The US economy runs on capitalism.  You can like that or decry that, but you cannot deny that.  One of the foundation pieces of capitalism is the Law of Supply and Demand.  The tenets of that law are intuitively obvious, and they hold sway in the marketplace.  Here is the latest example.

Last month, the baseball fans in Oakland staged a “reverse boycott” where they organized to show up en masse at an A’s game seeking to demonstrate that there is indeed “fan interest” in Oakland in MLB and to urge the current owner, John Fisher, to sell the team to someone who would keep the A’s in Oakland.  A little more than 28,000 people showed up for that game in June.  The A’s average attendance is not quite 10,000 fans per game absent that anomalous game.

Organizers are doing an encore performance.  The A’s will host their area rival SF Giants on August 5th and the hope is that there will be a large and raucous audience for that game at whatever they are calling the Oakland Coliseum these days.  John Fisher paid attention in his Economics 101 course to realize what he should do for that game on August 5th.  There will be greater demand than usual; so, he raised the prices for tickets since the supply remained the same.  Brilliant!

Reports say that the cheapest seat in the house – – the house being the single worst MLB facility of them all – – will be $44 on August 5th.  For the other games against the Giants in this series, the cheap seats cost $27; soon after this encore “reverse boycott”, the cheap seats for game against the first place Rangers will cost $10.  No mystery here …

Finally, since capitalism has been part of today’s rant, let me close with two observations about that system:

“The only trouble with capitalism is capitalists; they’re too damn greedy.”  [Herbert Hoover]

And …

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”  [Sir Winston Churchill]

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports ………



6 thoughts on “The Mets Trade Max Scherzer”

  1. How about those 3 Alou brothers from the 60s and early 70s? If I recall correctly, Felipe and Matty were very good players and the 3rd (whose name escapes me at the moment) was serviceable.

    1. Ah, it is terrible to live in a world that has forgotten Jesus…..

      …or, you could call him Bob…

  2. …a robust history of siblings who have played…where one sibling is significantly better than the other:

    Sports Curmudgeon and Biff Curmudgeon.

  3. You left out the brother with I believe the shortest major league career of all – Larry Yount.

    A pitcher, he was announced into the game (so not just on roster),and …. hurt himself in warmups. Never made a pitch, never made it back to the bigs. But as he was announced, credited with a game played. Even moonlight Graham and Eddie Gaedel had to take to the field

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