At this year's trade deadline, the New York Mets cleaned house after a disappointing first half and unloaded a number of stars across the league. Max Scherzer was sent to the Texas Rangers, which, at the time, definitely wasn't going to help the New York Yankees in a crowded AL playoff race.
But the killer was Justin Verlander going back to the Astros and Steve Cohen paying down so much of his salary that it'll barely affect Houston in 2024 (and 2025, if the right-hander's option vests). That gave the Astros another jolt nobody wanted them to have, especially as they were in the midst of a season that started to show their roster cracks.
In Yankees fans' collective opinion? Unforgivable, no matter the prospect return. The Mets signed Verlander just months earlier and then quickly about-faced to pay millions upon millions to revamp their farm system. Good strategy? Sure. Infuriating for teams fighting for postseason positioning? Absolutely.
In the end, the Yankees stunk and stunk and stunk even more, missing the playoffs entirely without these trades affecting them. But still, there's worry for 2024, since Verlander will be back on the mound for a fraction of his $43.33 million AAV.
However, Scherzer -- unexpectedly -- can save Yankees fans from deeper frustrations if he can take down the Astros in Game 7 of the ALCS on Monday night. He'll be going up against Cristian Javier, who is somehow unhittable in October.
Max Scherzer has chance to undo Yankees fans' ire at Mets' 2023 trade deadline
How about a win, Max? You can make up for your disappointing showings the past two seasons with the Dodgers and Mets in October and derail one of the most hated dynasties in baseball history in the process?
And wouldn't this be doing the entire baseball world a favor? Wouldn't the everyday fan prefer the Rangers in the World Series over the Astros, who have made seven straight ALCS appearances as well as four World Series appearances (and two wins) since 2017? It's getting boring and aggravating, especially since they've managed to lose top-tier talent, yet sustain this unbelievable pace.
Houston will have one final go of it in 2024, too. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Verlander could all hit free agency after next year. Yankees fans need a definitive end to this nightmare, which isn't really in sight until 2025, but Scherzer can at least give us a moment to breathe as well as an opportunity to enjoy this year's World Series without being overly concerned about the outcome.
Mets fans might be rooting against Scherzer, but they're among the only people out there hoping for such an outcome. You can't really fault them because of how underwhelming he was in Flushing, but why not pull for the greater baseball good outcome? You already got Luisangel Acuña out of the swap. Can't have your cake and eat it.
Scherzer can also get back in the good graces of Yankees fans himself. He dominated New York in the 2011 ALDS and 2012 ALCS before losing a win-or-go-home game against the Red Sox in the 2013 ALCS (Boston went on to win the World Series that year). Do us a solid, buddy.