Almost nothing about the Mets' 2023 season has gone as hoped, and that includes their erstwhile tandem aces, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. When the highest-payroll-in-MLB-history Mets found themselves all but hopelessly out of contention leading up to the Aug. 1 trade deadline, each future Hall of Famer was dealt away -- Scherzer to the Rangers and then Verlander to the Astros. The duo, however, continues to make headlines regarding their short time together in Queens.
Speaking of which, Mike Puma of the New York Post recently undertook an autopsy of what went wrong with the Mets this season. Here's the relevant passage:
Verlander and Scherzer had a strained relationship as Tigers teammates, and a source said even as the pitchers worked toward harmony with the Mets, there was occasional discord. Verlander was a "diva," according to this Met, causing Scherzer to grouse about his fellow three-time Cy Young award winner. Verlander often complained about the Mets' analytics department, which he deemed inferior to the one that served him in Houston.
Verlander, who was traded back to the Astros on Aug. 1, was largely detached from teammates, according to the Met, and didn't add to the team's identity. On the other hand, Scherzer (who was traded to the Rangers on July 29) and Bassitt last season helped form the fabric of the clubhouse.
On Monday, Verlander was moved to respond to the report from Puma. Here's his full statement, which he released on social media:
I want to say that I have nothing but respect for the Mets organization and I enjoyed connecting with all of my teammates this season... new and old!! It truly was a wonderful group of people.
That being said, we all know the success of a team is made up of more than just the players on the field, everyone's input is valuable. I'm sorry to hear that a staff member took offense to constructive criticism on how we could improve.
Wishing nothing but best to the Mets moving forward.
Parsing the statement, it appears to be addressed to the Mets' analytics department, which presumably did not see eye to eye with Verlander on all matters. Left unaddressed is any tension with Scherzer that bubbled up while the two were once again reunited as teammates, however briefly.
Whatever the case, Verlander and Scherzer are now AL West rivals, and each team has legitimate designs on not only the division crown but also the World Series. As with all things Mets these days, this one has layers to it.