This is the digital version of The Pulse. If you want it earlier, start every morning with The Pulse delivered to your inbox. Sign up here.
Good morning! Don’t break any codes today?
The Mets finish the task
A decade or two from now, Mets fans will tell their progeny about the Great Hope of 2023. New team owner Steve Cohen threw around contracts as if they were party favors. The team was loaded with talent. We were supposed to win. Big.
Six months later, the dream has fully evaporated. Money go poof. What do we even call this era? The Scherlander Saga? We’ll work on it.
A quick recap:
- The Mets entered this season with a $353 million payroll, nearly $80 million more than the next competitor. They were due to pay over $100 million in luxury tax.
- In the last four days, they traded Max Scherzer ($130 million contract) and Justin Verlander ($86 million). Verlander went back to the Astros just hours before yesterday’s trade deadline.
- Scherzer, now a Texas Ranger, said Mets management isn’t planning to compete in 2024, as Ken Rosenthal relays here. I found his comments candid and understandable. I don’t think either Scherzer or Verlander truly wanted out; this is more in response to a complete organizational about-face.
That’s what happens when you underachieve to this degree. Scherzer and Verlander will now duke it out atop the AL West, and Mets fans will wonder what they did to deserve more pain.
A couple more deadline storylines that interested me:
Some final notables:
There were also a few other minor, last-minute deals you can catch up on here. Keith Law also has some incisive analysis on the teams that made the right moves and those that didn’t.
And don’t miss The Athletic Baseball Show breaking down every move here.
P.S. The day got even better for the Astros post-deadline, as Framber Valdez threw a no-hitter in a win over the Guardians.
Iowa State QB charged in gambling investigation
Cyclones starting quarterback Hunter Dekkers has been charged in relation to gambling, according to Iowa court records. Dekkers and his parents allegedly “engaged in a scheme” to make it appear that bets made by Dekkers — just 20 at the time — were made by his mother, Jami. Dekkers allegedly bet on Iowa State football games, too. Read all the details on this developing story here.
Woods joins board
Tiger Woods is the newest member of the PGA Tour policy board, news that sounds pretty tame but is nothing of the sort. It’s a major win for the players as turmoil continues, post-Saudi takeover. Brendan Quinn has a great explainer on the power shift at hand.
Edwards changes number
Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards is swapping his No. 1 jersey for No. 5 next season, a change he says he’s been trying to make since his rookie year. Edwards explained to The Athletic’s Shams Charania why the No. 5 means so much to him.
Codes were broken
Minutes after the whistle blew, former U.S. women’s national team star Carli Lloyd — now a commentator for FOX’s World Cup coverage — unloaded on USWNT. She railed against players laughing and dancing after a lackluster tie, saying the behavior didn’t line up with the result. The comments sparked dissension for much of the day yesterday. I thought Jeff Rueter’s column on the affair was nuanced.
Meanwhile on American soil, Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett made his first public comments since Sean Payton’s diss track last week. Hackett said he believes Payton broke “a code” and that the situation “sucks.” If you read the context here, you’ll start to believe Payton’s outburst might be a great team-building moment in New York. Whoops.
An under-the-radar storyline this NBA offseason: Darko Rajaković is the second European head coach in league history. Eric Koreen writes the definitive story on the new Toronto coach, who went from freezing out Sam Presti in a cold Serbian gym to coaching the exciting young Raptors.
Meg Linehan has more from the USWNT bummer yesterday. The team’s problems run “bone deep.”
Every year that goes by makes Mike Tomlin a better story. The Steelers coach is still among the league’s best, even after 16 seasons — and he’s still young by coaching standards. Jim Trotter traveled to Latrobe, Pa., to see what makes Tomlin tick after all this time.
Geno Smith has come so far in a year as Seahawks starting quarterback. Not everyone is a believer.
Hailey Salvian has the scoop on the new women’s pro hockey league, including where teams could be located and what rosters might look like.
Unlike the Lakers, the Knicks are bringing back a near-identical cast to last season. Fred Katz has four lineups he wants to see this year.
The fallout continues for Northwestern football: Ohio State snagged the Wildcats’ highest-rated freshman.
Rams star wideout Cooper Kupp left practice yesterday with a member of the medical staff and did not return. Coach Sean McVay said the team is waiting on more news, but losing Kupp would be a massive blow for a team hoping to regain form this year.
The Heat are still working on a trade for Damian Lillard, but there’s no traction just yet.
(Photo: Dylan Buell/ Getty Images)