Justin Verlander Trade Rumors: Mets Covet Dodgers Prospect Emmet Sheehan

With the MLB trade deadline less than 24 hours away, the Los Angeles Dodgers continue to hunt for ways to upgrade their roster, with starting pitching believed to be their biggest focus.

The Dodgers are said to be targeting an impact starter, with New York Mets ace Justin Verlander and Detroit Tigers breakout southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez at the top of their list. L.A. would also like the starter they acquire to have team control, which may make Verlander the more likely option as Rodriguez has an opt out in his contract after this season.

Still, there are hurdles to cross in a potential deal for Verlander, specifically the financial side. Verlander is under contract next season for $43.33 million, and he has a vesting option at $35 million for 2025 that kicks in if he throws 140 innings next year, in addition to the roughly $15 million still remaining this season.

The Mets would likely be willing to eat salary, as they did when trading Max Scherzer to the Texas Rangers, but that would requirer a greater cost for the Dodgers in terms of the prospects included in the deal. Finding the middle ground between the financial and prospect cost is key, but one pitcher the Mets reportedly have interest in is Emmet Sheehan, according to Jack Harris of the L.A. Times:

However, the more money the Mets include in the deal, the more of a prospect package they’ll want in return, with young Dodgers pitchers, including Emmet Sheehan, believed to be coveted by New York, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The Dodgers may be hesitant to trade Sheehan, who has skyrocketed his value this season by dominating Double-A Tulsa and earning a promotion to the Major League level, where he has flashed some tremendous upside. The Cardinals also expressed interest in Sheehan, who would be intriguing to many teams because of his unique fastball traits.

Through his first seven MLB starts, Sheehan is 3-1 with a 5.77 ERA, 4.71 FIP, 1.34 WHIP and 27 strikeouts in 34.1 innings pitched, which leaves a lot to be desired performance-wise. But considering he was forced into MLB action rather than developing in the Minor Leagues as hoped, it’s been a respectable start to his career.

As for Verlander, his overall season ERA of 3.15 ERA is strong, and he has bounced back after a rough beginning to the year, posting a 1.95 ERA over his last nine starts. He would immediately slot into the top of the Dodgers’ rotation, giving them another ace to pair with Clayton Kershaw in the playoffs while helping to stabilize their group now.

With the struggles of Julio Urías and Tony Gonsolin, the Dodgers may be more desperate than they normally would be to add an impact arm, which could push them into overpaying for Verlander in what has become a clear seller’s market.

Emmet Sheehan focused on ‘trusting my stuff’

In his last outing, the rookie right-hander gave up just two hits and issued one walk while getting through five scoreless innings on 82 pitches. The performance came on the heels of Sheehan allowing a career-high eight runs in his last outing against the Texas Rangers.

Among the changes Sheehan made was being more aggressive in the strike zone. “Just being on the attack and trust my stuff in the zone,” he explained. “I think before, I was a little on the defensive, which is not the way I like to pitch.”

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