Mets not expecting to land Max Scherzer by trade deadline

The Mets, searching far and wide for upgrades to their pitching staff, are proceeding as though they won’t land Max Scherzer, an industry source told The Post on Tuesday.

What already looked like a long shot has turned into more of a Hail Mary, as the Nationals have notified the Mets that Scherzer, the three-time Cy Young Award winner who can be a free agent this winter, didn’t want to play for them, as first reported by SNY. Multiple sources indicate that the 37-year-old, who as a 10-and-5 player (10 years in the major leagues, five or more years with his current club) can fully control his destiny, would prefer to join one of the National League’s West Coast teams, particularly the Dodgers or Padres, by Friday afternoon’s trade deadline.

Even if Scherzer expressed more of an openness to joining the Mets, the Nats themselves were not keen on aiding their National League East rival, a second source said, nor did they see a fit with the Yankees on trade chips.

So the Mets will keep searching elsewhere. A scout of theirs attended Monday night’s Tigers-Twins game in Minnesota to watch impending free agent Michael Pineda start for the Twins. Another Twins right-hander, Jose Berrios, remains an intriguing option. But the Twins’ asking price for him would be hefty since he is under contract through 2022.

Max Scherzer
Max Scherzer
AP

The Phillies appeared to take one possible Mets target off the table Tuesday when they reportedly agreed to a deal for Pirates lefty Tyler Anderson. But the deal reportedly hit a snag because of a medical hold-up with one of the two minor leaguers the Phillies were set to send back to Pittsburgh. Other free-agents-to-be like Rockies right-hander Jon Gray and Cubs right-hander Zach Davies could also be options ahead of Friday’s deadline.

Internally, the Mets are enjoying better news on the starting pitching front. Carlos Carrasco is in line to make his Mets debut Friday against the Reds at Citi Field, roughly three hours after the 4 p.m. trade deadline. Coming back from a torn hamstring, he will join the rotation with Taijuan Walker, Marcus Stroman, Rich Hill and Tylor Megill as the Mets wait for Jacob deGrom (forearm tightness) to return, with Noah Syndergaard (Tommy John surgery) a possible September addition.

“We’re pretty optimistic that he’s going to make that start for us Friday,” manager Luis Rojas said Tuesday, before hosting the Braves, as Carrasco threw a side session. “He’s in great shape, he feels great. Everyone is on the same page that he’s ready to make his start with us. So we’re set for Friday.”

Michael Pineda and Jon Gray
Michael Pineda and Jon Gray
Getty Images (2)

Syndergaard also threw off the bullpen mound Tuesday, his first time off the slope since having his rehab assignment cut short in May because of elbow inflammation.

“I was looking forward to this day,” Rojas said. “He was too. He’s been pumped up. He’s been working hard and doing everything.”

The last time the Mets had five healthy starters — not including stopgaps like Tuesday’s starter Jerad Eickhoff, Robert Stock or Corey Oswalt — was June 30, when David Peterson strained his oblique. Since then, deGrom has also joined him on the IL, though he was scheduled to another light side session Tuesday as he continued to work his way back.

— Additional reporting by Joel Sherman

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