Rangers Bolster Rotation With Trade For Max Scherzer


Image credit: Luisangel Acuna (Photo by Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers/Getty Images)

The Rangers’ new ballpark has already hosted a World Series. By adding Max Scherzer from the Mets, Texas’ front office is doing all it can to see to it that it happens again. And this time, it’d get to play for a championship.

The clubs struck a deal on July 29 that sent Scherzer—who has top-end upside but has been inconsistent this season—to Texas for Double-A shortstop Luisangel Acuña, who is tremendously talented but has his pathway to the big leagues blocked by Corey Seager and Marcus Semien.

Scherzer now heads to the front of a Rangers rotation that already holds Jon Gray and Nathan Eovaldi, while Acuña bolsters a Mets system that on July 27 added a pair of high-upside talents in Marco Vargas and Ronald Hernandez when it traded closer David Robertson to the Marlins.


Max Scherzer, RHP

Scherzer is owed more than $14 million for the rest of this season and holds a $43.3 million player option for next season. He waived his no-trade clause to facilitate this trade, with the Rangers picking up his 2024 option and the Mets paying for all but $22.5 million of the money still owed to Scherzer.

Even at 39 years old, the three-time Cy Young Award winner has flashed vintage stuff about half the time out this season. Eleven times out of 19, Scherzer has gone at least six innings, with nine of those efforts being quality starts. But his 4.01 ERA would be his highest since 2011, back before he had established himself as a front-of-the-rotation arm. Scherzer still misses plenty of bats and limits walks. His issues this season stem from a proneness to home runs—he has allowed a National League-high 23. Scherzer has surrendered nine of those homers on sliders, which remains his best overall pitch, after allowing zero homers on sliders in 2022. In fact, he had allowed just 10 total home runs on sliders from 2018 through 2022. But when he’s right, Scherzer can still dominate a lineup—last season he had a 2.29 ERA and 5.2 WAR—and has the same bulldog mound presence to head a rotation.


Luisangel Acuña, SS/2B

Acuña, who is the younger brother of Braves superstar outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., is an extremely electric hitter with an extremely gifted pair of hands that allows him to do damage on a wide variety of pitches. His biggest issue involves his approach. He swings nearly half the time and sports a fairly high chase rate. Outside evaluators also note he has a tendency to let his front hip leak. Despite these flaws, he’s posted an excellent season in the Texas League that includes an .830 OPS and 42 stolen bases thanks to excellent speed. He’s dabbled in the outfield this year because of the Rangers’ logjam of middle infielders both in the big leagues and throughout the system. With the Mets, he may be able to focus more regularly on the infield, where he has a plus arm and has gotten better overall. His hands and feet are solid and he’s done a better job with his internal clock in 2023 and can now better gauge how aggressive he needs to be when making plays.

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