While a tentative deal was struck earlier Saturday, it was contingent on Scherzer waiving a no-trade clause. One day after expressing frustration over the Mets' trade of closer David Robertson, Scherzer approved the deal to Texas, where he'll join the American League West-leading Rangers, who at 60-45 are one game ahead of the Houston Astros.
In return, the Mets will receive Luisangel Acuna, 21, a middle infielder and center fielder who will likely be among New York's top prospects. The Mets officially announced the trade on Sunday and thanked Scherzer in a social media post.
Thank you, Max. pic.twitter.com/kJlEf3zSgx— New York Mets (@Mets) July 30, 2023
Acuna was playing for Double-A Frisco in the Rangers' system and was hitting .315 with seven home runs, 51 RBIs and 42 stolen bases in 82 games. He is the younger brother of Atlanta Braves superstar Ronald Acuna Jr.
As part of the deal, Scherzer has elected to opt in to the 2024 season with the Rangers. Texas will pay Scherzer $22.5 million, while the Mets will cover more than $35 million of the remaining terms.
Later, after the Rangers' 4-0 loss to the San Diego Padres, Texas manager Bruce Bochy was equally as noncommittal, saying "there's nothing I can give you right now. No word. I just came in and haven't talked to anybody. I can't tell you where it's at right now."
The Rangers have the highest-scoring offense in baseball, but they went into trade-deadline season hoping to add to their pitching after their highest-profile free agent addition, Jacob deGrom, underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in June. They dealt for Scherzer despite his Major League Baseball-high annual salary of $43.3 million -- and the potential for him to opt out of the final year of his contract following this season.
In the 39-year-old Scherzer, the Rangers get a future Hall of Famer whose 2023 season has been up and down by his own high standards. He is 9-4 with a 4.01 ERA, has struck out 121 and walked 30 in 107⅔ innings and has allowed a National League-high 23 home runs.
Scherzer joined New York before the 2022 season and thrived while on the mound, with a 2.29 ERA in 145⅓ innings over 23 starts.
The Mets, who signed co-ace Justin Verlander over the winter, came into this season with an MLB-record payroll of more than $350 million and eyed their first championship since 1986.
They never found their footing, and at 49-55, the Mets are in fourth place in the NL East and 18 games behind first-place Atlanta. The trade of Robertson started their unloading process, and the trade of Scherzer continues it; the Mets are expected to move even more players before Tuesday's 6 p.m. ET deadline, sources said.
Texas, meanwhile, hopes to trot out a playoff rotation headlined by with Scherzer and Nathan Eovaldi, with Jon Gray, Dane Dunning, Martin Perez and Andrew Heaney also options. In June, they traded for left-handed reliever Aroldis Chapman, and they've been in discussions with multiple teams about more bullpen arms -- including Robertson, who eventually was dealt to the Miami Marlins on Thursday night.