3 reasons the Reds should avoid trading for NY Mets starter Justin Verlander

The Cincinnati Reds have been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Justin Verlander.

New York Mets pitcher Justin Verlander
New York Mets pitcher Justin Verlander / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages
1 of 3

By now, everyone knows that New York Mets starting pitcher Justin Verlander is on the trade block. After New York parted ways with Max Scherzer on Saturday night, there's little doubt that the Mets are going to be sellers at the MLB trade deadline.

There has been speculation that the Cincinnati Reds could be involved in trade talks to acquire New York's other ace, former Cy Young Award-winner Justin Verlander.

While this would fill that need of a veteran starter who's controllable beyond the 2023 season, Verlander isn't exactly who Cincinnati should be targeting at the trade deadline. What are three reasons the Reds should avoid trading for Verlander?

1. The asking price for Justin Verlander would cost the Reds a top prospect.

So what's the market look like for an aging starting pitcher like Justin Verlander? Well, the New York Mets basically set the market for such a deal after trading Max Scherzer on Saturday night.

In exchange for Scherzer, the Mets received Luisangel Acuña. The younger brother of Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr., the outfield prospect is ranked among the Top 100 prospects in all of baseball according to MLB Pipeline.

The Mets are paying down quite a bit of Scherzer's salary in order to secure a prospect like Acuña. With the deep pockets of Steve Cohen, one would think the Mets owner would have no problem taking a similar approach if New York decides to deal Verlander before Tuesday's deadline.

Verlander has a full no-trade clause and is owed $43-million next season. Honestly, with so little money committed to the 2024 payroll, the Cincinnati Reds could take on Verlander's contract without any cash attached.

A trade involving Justin Verlander would likely cost the Reds a top prospect like Edwin Arroyo, Cam Collier, or Carlos Jorge. While all three are years away from the big leagues, Nick Krall has stated that he's looking for sustainability. That cannot be achieved by dealing a young prospect for an aging veteran pitcher with a gigantic contract.

2. Justin Verlander has seen a sharp decline in performance.

Any Reds fans who are calling for first baseman Joey Votto to be benched in favor of infield prospect Christian Encarnacion-Strand should be completely against this proposed trade. It's virtually the same concept.

Not to pick on Votto, but at 39 years old, the six-time All-Star has seen a decline in performance. While the power is still there for Votto, the former MVP is hitting below the Mendoza line and Reds Country has seen manager David Bell sit Votto down in favor a pinch hitter on multiple occasions this season.

Justin Verlander is a tremendous talent and had a renaissance performance last season. The right-hander won his third Cy Young Award at the age of 39. Verlander was 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA in 28 starts for the World Champion Houston Astros. Verlander led the league with 220 ERA+.

But this season, the numbers just haven't been there. Verlander is 5-5 with a 3.24 ERA and just 76 punch outs in 89 innings of work. While the former MVP has been brilliant of late, you just have to question the sustainability of Verlander over the long haul.

According to Baseball Savant, Justin Verlander's velocity is down and so is his strikeout-rate. Unfortunately, his walk-rate is up. Verlander walked just 29 batters a year ago, but has already issued 30 free passes this season.

3. The Reds have young pitchers who are ready to make their big league debut.

The Reds have been rocked by injuries to their starting rotation this season. Both Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo have been sidelined for quite some time, but the Reds' 1-2 combination is expected to return within the next month.

Already this season, the Reds have had unexpected contributions from Brandon Williamson and Andrew Abbott. You could even throw Ben Lively's name into the mix, though his long-term future is more than likely in the bullpen.

Let's not leave out Graham Ashcraft. While struggles plagued the second-year starter earlier this season, the right-hander seems to have righted the ship and looks like a key piece of the starting rotation moving forward.

But that's just the tip of iceberg. Cincinnati also has Connor Phillips, Christian Roa, and even 2023 first-round pick Rhett Lowder knocking on the door. There's also Lyon Richardson, Levi Stoudt, Joe Boyle, and perhaps even Julian Aguiar.

The Cincinnati Reds have so many talented, young pitchers who are on the cusp of making their major league debut that it would be a shame to see an aging pitcher like Justin Verlander take up a spot in the rotation.

By no means is this a call for the Reds to dismiss any and all potential additions at this year's trade deadline. But is Verlander really going to vault the Reds from playoff hopeful to World Series contender? That seems like a stretch with both the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers ahead of them.

dark. Next. 5 players who won't survive. 5 Reds players who won't survive the trade deadline