Max Scherzer is a Met.
As unbelievable and straight up fictional as it sounds, he is.
Scherzer and his seemingly omnipresent agent, Scott Boras, were on Zoom yesterday with new General Manager Billy Eppler, kinda sorta Team President Sandy Alderson and owner Steve Cohen, officially announcing Scherzer’s arrival in Queens.
It sounds made up, truly. The Mets had to go above and beyond to get Scherzer, as any player of his caliber on the free agent market would require, and it took some real guts to even try it. They had obvious holes in their rotation, with Marcus Stroman and Noah Syndergaard becoming free agents and leaving the organization, and a myriad of injuries to basically every pitcher not named Stroman last season saw the Mets rotation depth fall apart pretty quickly.
There were pitchers to sign, of course, and the Mets were in on mostly all of them. However, as Thanksgiving and Black Friday came and went, not one of the pitchers would be taking their talents to Queens in 2021. They set their sights on one pitcher, above all the others, and it seemed like the wildest of wild goose chases: they wanted Literally Max Scherzer.
It felt like a waste of time. Max Scherzer was never coming to the Mets! At 37 years old! Leaving the Dodgers! For a team that won 78 games the year prior! It seemed impossible.
And yet, option after option for starting pitching went off the board. Kevin Gausman went to Toronto, and Jon Gray added to the Rangers spending spree, two names the Mets seemed keen on. The Mets, at that point, had an increasing need to sign Scherzer. The options were just growing thinner and thinner, and it still never felt like Scherzer was actually going to come.
That is, until Sunday night, when Jon Morosi (followed by Ken Rosenthal) tweeted out that the Mets were moving closer to a deal with Scherzer. And then nothing, for hours. Nary an update from anyone, one that was substantial anyway. It seemed like Morosi and Rosenthal simply jumped the gun, and some very LOLMets stuff was about to go down. Alas, as we all know, it did not, and he agreed to a record-breaking three year, $130m deal to be a New York Met on Monday. (In all likelihood, Scherzer probably went to sleep Sunday night and picked up the negotiations the next day, but at the time it felt like the whole thing was collapsing in the most Mets way one could imagine).
The deal itself is hard to fathom for Mets fans, even after Francisco Lindor shattered the team record last offseason with a 10 year, $341m deal last offseason. The $43.3m AAV on the Scherzer contract is nothing short of staggering, and it’s something that is unprecedented in the sport. That $43.3 AAV is higher than the entirety of the Pirates and Orioles payrolls (which is not a good thing for the sport, and those teams should spend more, but I digress). It pushed the Mets to the highest payroll in baseball at $266m, a payroll that is likely to rise further as the offseason goes on. It represents a commitment to winning beyond what we even saw last offseason, and it is, simply put, a fun time in Queens, despite the incomplete roster at the moment.
The signing caused a bit of a social media flurry as well, as many, many, many people went to Twitter to say that spending this much money on players is bad (it is good), that it is a waste of money (it is not), and that the big market teams are killing baseball (they are not). Fans and the like weren’t the only ones to run to social media, as multiple teams dropped some big old “WE TRIED” leaks to some of our favorite baseball reporters in regards to Scherzer. Personally, and I am 100% sure everyone reading this agrees, being on the good side of the “WE TRIED” leaks is way better than being on the bad side.
Max Scherzer being a New York Met remained unbelievable until he threw the blue and orange hat on during his windy Zoom call on the first of December. The future Hall of Famer, likely wearing a Washington Nationals cap on his plaque, will have New York (N) on it, which makes me chuckle every time I think about it. He represents a few things; a legitimate commitment to spending on Really Good Baseball players beyond Francisco Lindor, something these same Mets did not do last year. It also, on the field, gives the Mets one of the most dynamic one-two punches with Jacob deGrom and Scherzer.
Max Scherzer is a Met. It’s kind of hilarious, in the best way possible.