A white whale for Steve Cohen, Steven Matz chooses the Cardinals, and the Mets will be back in black in 2022
Max Scherzer should be the Mets biggest pursuit this winter. Plus, there will be no reunion with Steven Matz afterall.
What’s Up with the Mets? 💭
LHP Steven Matz is joining the Cardinals on a four-year, $44 million deal (multiple reports)
The Mets could wait until December and a potential lockout to find a new manager (NY Post)
New York is not planning to sign any free agents with qualifying offers attached (The Athletic)
The Mets will wear their black jerseys during every Friday home game in 2022, and will put replica black jerseys on sale on Friday, November 26th at 8 AM (Mets)
Former Mets RHP Jeurys Familia is on the Red Sox’s radar this offseason (WEEI)
Max Scherzer should be Steve Cohen’s white whale 📝
During his introductory press conference last Friday, Mets GM Billy Eppler said he wanted to address the Mets lack of pitching, specifically with their depth.
“I look at the roster and definitely want to address the pitching,” he said. “We’ve had a player recently go somewhere else in [Noah Syndergaard], and just really want to reinforce the overall depth.”
The Mets lack that depth, but are lacking any kind of certainty with their starting pitching at the moment as well.
To help address their depth problem, the Mets are interested in bringing Steven Matz back into the fold this winter. If they’re successful in this endeavor, the Mets would be able to reserve funding for more elite starting pitching over the course of the off-season.
But even if the Mets are able to retain Marcus Stroman or pitcher of his caliber, the Mets need to hedge their bet on Jacob deGrom’s questionable situation by signing another elite starting pitcher.
That starting pitcher should be Max Scherzer.
Scherzer, who will be 37-years-old in 2022, enjoyed a healthy, Cy Young-caliber season in 2021, splitting his time between the Nationals and Dodgers as his seven-year contract was set to expire at the conclusion of the season. He struck out 147 batters in 111 innings over 19 starts with the Nationals before being traded to the Dodgers in July, going 8-4 with a 2.76 ERA and a 147 ERA+. After the trade to Los Angeles, Scherzer was one of the most dominant pitchers in the National League, pitching to a 1.98 ERA while going a perfect 7-0 in 68 1/3 innings over his final 11 starts of the regular season. Overall, Scherzer went 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA with 236 strikeouts in 179 innings in 2021.
Scherzer is an eight-time all-star and two-time Cy Young Award winner. Since the start of the 2013 season, Scherzer is the runaway leader among active starting pitchers with 54.3 bWAR (min. 1000 innings), leads the league in wins (138), starts (265) innings pitched (1732) and strikeouts (2191), and is third in the league in ERA (2.82) and ERA+ (148) during that span.
But it’s the intangibles Scherzer brings between his presence on the mound, demeanor and overall attitude, that which can’t be quantified statistically, which would make the Mets that much better if he could be signed.
A certain first-ballot hall of famer, Scherzer could serve as top-of-the-rotation insurance for the Mets, if not form one of the most dominant 1-2 punches in the league if both he and deGrom are healthy. Such a scenario would completely change the dimension of the starting rotation, roster and National League East entirely.
It’s far from certain Scherzer would even entertain signing with the Mets this winter. He reportedly rejected the notion of joining either New York team this past summer when the Nationals made him available ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, instead preferring to land with a team in California. But his agent, Scott Boras, said at the GM Meetings earlier this month Scherzer would be open to joining any team in any locale provided he was joining a winning organization.
That’s not to say money won’t ultimately drive this process for Scherzer - it probably will, and Boras certainly doesn’t lose any leverage with teams if he at least states in public his client is open to joining any club.
The Mets can and should at least sit down at this high roller table and make the strongest play possible to procure Scherzer, convincing him the Mets are in fact immediately headed in the right direction and pony up the coin to convince Scherzer of that as well. They were reportedly willing to sign Trevor Bauer for three years, $105 million with opt-out clauses built-in (a true blessing in disguise that didn’t happen), so the Mets should be willing to at least go that distance, if not further to sign Scherzer who is better and more valuable than Bauer is and was as a player and personality.
“I’ve let Billy know, for the right deals and the right free agents, to go get the players we need,’’ Mets owner Steve Cohen said last Friday. “We want to be competitive, we want to win our division and be in the playoffs and get deep into the playoffs. We’ve got to field a team that has the ability to do that. I’ve let Billy and Sandy know, it’s whatever they need.”
If the Mets are to check those boxes, half measures and hope won’t do - Scherzer must serve as Cohen’s white whale this winter.
Hot Stove 🔥
The Rays and SS Wander Franco agreed to an 11-year, $182 million contract extension (multiple reports)
The White Sox signed RHP Kendall Graveman to a three-year, $24 million contract (Heyman)
Orioles LHP John Means could possibly be available in a trade (ESPN)
The Rangers have been in contact with LHP Clayton Kershaw (MLB Network)
The Yankees released OF Clint Frazier after he was designated for assignment last week (Heyman)
The Reds are open to trading RHP Sonny Gray (ESPN)
The Phillies have had “substantive” talks with RHP Mychal Givens (NBC Philadelphia)