Justin Verlander could be awesome, but the cost for the Phillies would have been too high
The Mets were clearly motivated to change their team-building philosophy starting with this trade deadline and they were a part of the biggest moves as a result. They sent Max Scherzer to the Rangers and parted with several other important players on their roster as well. One move that they made on trade deadline day that could have fit the Dombrowski "trade for a superstar" mold is when they dealt Justin Verlander back to the Astros.
Verlander got off to a rough start in 2023, but he had looked like his usual dominant self over the last couple of months. The Phillies' rotation has already been the best in baseball in 2023 and there is a lot of wisdom in leaning into that sort of strength especially when you are building a roster to win playoff series.
However, the cost to the Phillies would have been too high to make such a deal worthwhile. First, the Mets almost certainly would have made Philadelphia pay a higher price solely because they are in the NL East if they were willing to trade him to them at all. Moreover, the Astros had to give up their top prospect in Drew Gilbert and arguably their second best prospect in Ryan Clifford to land Verlander. The Phillies just don't have that level of offensive talent in their farm system and to make up for that with greater quantity would have basically cleaned out the minor leagues.
Another issue is Verlander himself. He has looked much better of late, but his struggles early this season were a reminder that he is 40 years old and making a LOT of money next season which comes with a lot of risk. Moreover, Verlander had a full no-trade clause and he may have required some convincing to go to a Phillies team that is essentially hoping for a wild card spot at this point. The Phillies agreeing to guarantee his $35 million vesting option ahead of time for 2025 might have convinced him, but that heightens the risk further that such a trade would age poorly.