Mets sign three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer to record breaking deal
After being viewed as having "no shot," the Mets have landed this offseason's most prized pitcher in a franchise-altering moment.
In an incredible development, the Mets have landed baseball’s most coveted prize of the winter, signing RHP Max Scherzer to a three-year, $130 million contract.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network first reported the two sides were close to an agreement on a deal. According to SNY’s Andy Martino, there is an opt-out after the second year.
The $43.3 million average annual value is a major league record for a contract, surpassing Gerrit Cole’s previous record of $36 million per year.
Scherzer, 37, 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 and a 5.4 fWAR in 179 innings this past season.
The reported arrival of Scherzer seemed unlikely from the outset, as he reportedly informed the Nationals ahead of the trade deadline in July he wanted to be moved to a west coast club. As recently as Sunday morning, even, it was believed that the Mets had an outside shot at being able to convince Scherzer to sign in New York. However, Scherzer’s agent Scott Boras did tell SNY’s Andy Martino in early November that his client was more concerned with joining a winning club and de-prioritized location.
In the end, Scherzer chose to become a New York Met and join Jacob deGrom as one of the most lethal one-two punches we’ve seen in this league in quite some time.
A certain first-ballot Hall of Famer, Scherzer is an eight-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner and has thrown two no-hitters in his career. 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. He has been an All-Star and finished in the top-10 in Cy Young Award voting in nine of his last ten seasons.
In 14 career starts, Scherzer has a 2.14 ERA, 2.72 FIP and 0.896 WHIP with 125 strikeouts to just 24 walks over 92.2 innings pitches at Citi Field.
Scherzer’s arrival is as big of a franchise-altering moment since the Mets acquired Mike Piazza in 1998. He will serve as top-of-the-rotation insurance for the Mets at a minimum, if not form one of the most dominant top of the rotations in the league if deGrom is healthy. The acquisition of Scherzer unquestionably alters the landscape of the National League East given their formidable rotation, helping to restore credibility and confidence in what was a real shaky rotation for the Mets in the second half. What’s even more satisfying here is that New York will have acquired the best starting pitcher on the entire free agent market without having to surrender their first round draft pick.
This record-signing also signals that the Mets, once-and-for-all, are finally operating as the big market team that they should have been for such a long time. And while the results are pending, owner Steve Cohen is providing exactly the thing he promised this fan base: lots and lots of money to spend.