The Texas Rangers and New York Mets have completed a trade that will send Max Scherzer westward. As part of the agreement, Scherzer has opted into his contract for next season, which will see him make more than $43 million. The Rangers will be on the hook for only $22.5 million total, however, with the Mets footing the rest of the bill, Braves' Ronald Acuña Jr.. In return, the Mets gain shortstop Luisangel Acuña, the 21-year-old younger brother of
The trade was officially announced Sunday.
For the Rangers, the deal fortifies a rotation that, while effective, has been hit hard by the season-ending injury to Jacob deGrom, their marquee offseason addition, and is need of additional depth. For the disappointing Mets, it signals what may be a wider sell-off leading up to Tuesday's trade deadline.
Scherzer, 39, has this season pitched to a 4.01 ERA and 4.03 K/BB ratio in 107 2/3 innings. Over that span, he's allowed an NL-most 23 home runs on the year. While the future Hall of Famer hasn't lived up to his usual standards in 2023, his ERA has been a bit better than the average once you adjust for league and home-ballpark conditions. He's also dealt with neck and back issues this season, including being scratched from a May start with neck spasms, and he was.
The three-time Cy Young winner is in the second year of a three-year, $130 million deal he inked with the Mets in November 2021. Clearly he won't spend the rest of the deal with the Mets, though he will see it to completion with the Rangers.
Scherzer recently expressed disappointment in the Mets' decision to position themselves as sellers with the . The signal that the Mets would in essence bow to their slim current playoff odds may motivate him to waive his full-no trade protection and approve the deal to Texas.
The Fantasy Baseball Today podcast released an emergency episode to discuss the Scherzer deal. Listen below:
The Rangers entered Sunday's slate with a 60-45 record. While they continue to occupy first place in the American League West, the reigning Word Series-champion Astros trailed them by just a pair of games. Scherzer will now lead a rotation that currently Nathan Eovaldi, Jon Gray, Andrew Heaney, Dane Dunning and Martín Pérez. Texas already added reliever Aroldis Chapman in a pre-deadline trade with the Royals in late June.
Luisangel Acuña is listed at only 5-foot-8, but he has a fast bat and above-average power potential. The catch is that he hasn't fully tapped into it during games. He's too prone to swinging at suboptimal pitches and topping the ball, with his 49.1% ground-ball percentage this season representing the lowest of his career. Acuña's aggressive approach has not resulted in a lean walk rate or a fat strikeout rate, which are promising signs for his future. Here's another: he's been an above-average producer at the Double-A level despite his flaws.
Defensively, Acuña has the athleticism and the arm strength to stick on the left side. Normally, we'd write that he'll need to continue to work on the finer aspects of playing shortstop if he's to remain at the position, but let's face it: he's not chasing Francisco Lindor to second or third base.