With just over 30 hours to go before the trade deadline, the Mets are not deep in talks with any team about Justin Verlander -- but are still listening. One of the primary roadblocks to a deal is Verlander’s vesting option for 2025, according to multiple MLB team executives involved in discussions.
A survey of league sources indicates that the Mets have had Verlander talks with three or four clubs, though none have yet progressed anywhere near an agreement on players. The Dodgers and Astros, already publicly identified, are among those teams, but they have company.
In order to pay down Verlander’s salary, the Mets are seeking significant prospect value, more than they received in the Max Scherzer trade (Luisangel Acuna, the third-ranked prospect in Texas’ system), according to teams to whom they have spoken.
But it is unclear how many years of team control those clubs would be buying. The Mets last winter signed Verlander to a two-year, $86 million deal. If he pitches 140 innings next year, he triggers a contract option worth $35 million.
This, let alone agreeing on the players in a trade package, is a lot to work though in two days.
If Verlander prefers to play for a contender, the Mets would do their best to accommodate that -- but not, of course, at the expense of what they consider a good deal.
The Mets could also move Verlander this winter, when they would have more time to discuss it with other clubs. Or they could keep him for their 2024 rotation. With Tuesday’s 6 p.m. deadline fast approaching, all of those options remain on the table.
By the end of Monday, more will likely be known about Verlander’s trade status.