Max Scherzer trade package: What Mets offer could look like

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Max Scherzer treated image with grey background
Max Scherzer treated image with grey background

With the Mets "all over" the pitching market as the trade deadline nears, the most intriguing name out there is Max Scherzer.

And per SNY's Andy Martino, the Mets will inquire about what it might take to pry him away from the Washington Nationals.

Scherzer turns 37 on July 27, is set to hit free agency after the season, and is in the final year of a deal that counts for roughly $28 million against the luxury tax.

The catch here is that, according to Martino, outside executives are skeptical the Nats would deal Scherzer inside the NL East.

But if the Nats are willing to deal Scherzer to the Mets (and it wouldn't be surprising if they asked the Mets for more than any team not in the NL East), he should be at the very top of New York's list. Just imagine him pitching at the top of the rotation with Jacob deGrom.

Now, when trying to figure out what it might cost to trade for Scherzer, it's important to note that an ace of Scherzer's caliber getting traded in his walk year is extremely rare.

Jul 18, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) throws a pitch against the San Diego Padres during the fourth inning at Nationals Park.
Jul 18, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) throws a pitch against the San Diego Padres during the fourth inning at Nationals Park.

The last time a pitcher of Scherzer's caliber and stature got traded at all in-season was when the Detroit Tigers traded Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros in 2017 -- and that was after the non-waiver deadline passed.

However, at the time of the deal, Verlander was under team control for two more full seasons and had a vesting option for the 2020 season.

Because of the above, comparing the package of three prospects the Tigers got for Verlander to anything the Nats might expect for Scherzer wouldn't make sense.

For the last time a true ace was dealt around the trade deadline in his walk year (honorable mention to the Texas Rangers trading Yu Darvish to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017), we have to go back to...

David Price from the Tigers to the Blue Jays in 2015

Price was dealt to the Jays for Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd, and Jairo Labourt.

Norris was viewed by many as Toronto's No. 1 prospect entering 2015. Per John Sickels, Labourt was No. 12 and Boyd was No. 16.

The Jays were responsible for paying $7.23 million of Price's salary after acquiring him.

At the time of the deal, Price had a 2.53 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 146 innings after posting a 3.21 ERA and 1.14 WHIP over the first seven seasons of his career.

After the season, the Jays lost Price to the Boston Red Sox in free agency.

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Now, here's the thing (well, two things)...

First, teams are (smartly) no longer trading their No. 1 overall prospects in deals for rentals, no matter how good those rentals are. So you can forget about the Mets dangling Francisco Alvarez here.

Second, and as was noted above, it's difficult to place value on a pitcher like Scherzer. He is not only an ace, but is one of the most competitive pitchers in the history of the sport.

Add those points to the uncertainty regarding whether the Nats would even deal Scherzer to the Mets, and you get a very tough situation to predict.

However, if the Mets are willing to center a deal for Scherzer around a prospect near the bottom of their top 10 and a few prospects outside the top 10 but within their top 20, maybe the Nats would start to listen.