Scherzer, Mets finalize $130 million 3-year deal
NEW YORK (AP) — Mets owner Steve Cohen pledged to do his best to bring the World Series back to New York.
Enter Queens’ newest ace, Max Scherzer.
The Mets and three-time Cy Young Award winner on Wednesday finalized a $130 million, three-year deal that shatters baseball’s record for the highest average salary and joins Jakob Deger in New York. Roma’s rotation has formed a historically impressive 1-2.
Scherzer said he was convinced during a video call with Cohen last month that the sophomore owner would do whatever it takes to build a winner in Flushing.
“You don’t hear much from owners these days,” Scherzer said Wednesday. “Obviously it piques my interest when you hear that the boss wants to do everything possible to win.”
Of course, Cohen put his wallet behind his words.
Scherzer, 37, will earn $43.33 million a year, 20 percent above the previous mark, and $36 million Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole is worth an average of $36 million over a nine-year deal signed before the 2020 season. Scherzer has the option to opt out after the 2023 season and become a free agent again.
The eight-time All-Star is 15-4 and had a 2.46 ERA last season with the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers, who acquired him on July 30. He hasn’t lost a game after May 30 and is as dominant as ever. His first nine games started in Los Angeles, going 7-0 with a .78 ERA.
However, right-handed players lost momentum after heavy use in the playoffs. He was unable to start Game 6 of the NL Championship Series against Atlanta as planned due to arm fatigue. The Dodgers lost that game, ending the series.
Scherzer said he took about two weeks off before returning to throwing. He’s back on his normal offsesaon schedule, and he says his arm has turned the corner and has been feeling better for the past two weeks.
“I needed to see where my arm was and make sure there wasn’t any damage, and it wasn’t,” he said. “I just need time. My arm is overcooked and I work beyond my capacity and its purpose.
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“From a long-term perspective, a structural perspective, a health perspective, I’m ready.”
Scherzer struck out 236 and walked 36 in 179 1/3 innings, averaged 94.4 mph on the fastball in his final season, and has a $210 million, seven-year contract that includes a $1.05 payment from 2022-28 billion in deferred payments.
The deal would boost his career earnings to at least $370 million.
“Max is one of the best pitchers of this generation or any generation,” Cohen said. “It’s a great day for the New York Mets. It’s an even better day for our fans.”
New general manager Billy Eppler and the team’s analytics department calculated Scherzer’s value “near” the end of his contract, Cohen said.
“I might add a little bit to brand building, but that’s how I got that number,” he said.
Unique and scary, with blue eyes on the right side and brown eyes on the left – a condition known as heterochromia – Scherzer went 190-97 in 14 major league seasons in Arizona (2008-09) 3.16 ERA for Detroit (2010-14), Washington and Dodgers.
Scherzer, who has thrown two no-hitters, lives in West Palm Beach, Florida, about an hour’s drive from the Mets’ spring training center in Port St. Lucie. The proximity worked in New York’s favor as his young daughter started school.
Scherzer won his first Cy Young in Detroit in 2013, then went on to win back-to-back Pitcher of the Year awards in Washington in 2016 and ’17. He finished third in this year’s NL voting behind Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes and Philadelphia’s Zack Wheeler.
DeGrom won the Cy Young Award in 2018 and ’19, and Scherzer will become the seventh Cy Young champion to pitch for the Mets multiple times — along with Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez, Bret Saberhagen, Johan Santana and Tom Seaver. That’s two more than any other team, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Scherzer and deGrom will be the seventh pair to pitch together after winning multiple Cy Youngs. Scherzer did it last season with Clayton Kershaw, and the Mets made their first two pairings with Martinez-Santana in 2008 and Martinez-Glavine in 2005-07.
Scherzer also teamed up with Cy Young champion David Price, Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, Robbie Ray, Brandon Webb and Randy Johnson.
“I’ve been fortunate to have great starting pitchers by my side throughout my career,” Scherzer said. “I know how powerful it is to allow people to feed and watch great pitchers.”
DeGrom didn’t pitch after July 7 this year because of a tight right forearm, and Scherzer said he called DeGrom to check on his status and inquire about the New York market before signing. They’ll be at the top of a rotation that includes Carlos Carrasco, Tejuan Walker and Tyler Megill.
Noah Syndergard, recovering from Tommy John surgery, has signed a one-year deal worth $21 million with the Los Angeles Angels. The Mets lost to left-hander Steven Matz, whose four-year, $44 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals was finalized on Monday.
The Mets also finalized deals this week with center fielder Starling Marte ($78 million over four years) and outfielder/first baseman Mark Canha ($26.5 million over two years, club option). 162 November 30, 2021 November 30, 2021. $78,000,000/$1. 2022-2025
Malt received a $5 million signing bonus, half paid on Jan. 31 and the rest on Jan. 31, 2023. His salary is $14.5 million in 2022 and $19.5 million in each of the last three seasons.
Canha gets a $2 million signing bonus and $12 million salary in 2022 and $10.5 million in 2023. The Mets have an $11.5 million option in 2024 and a $2 million buyout.
On Wednesday, they also announced a $20 million, two-year deal with infielder Eduardo Escobar that includes a 2024 club option. The 32-year-old switch hitter from Venezuela is making his first All-Star team in 2021, hitting .253 with 28 homers and 90 RBIs for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers. He will receive $10 million in 2022 and $9.5 million in 2023, with a $9 million club option and a $500,000 buyout.
Marte, Canha and Escobar all agreed to their deals on Friday.
“When I see these names, it’s like, ‘Okay, we’re cooking right now,'” Canha said.
The Mets had the third-highest salary in baseball with $196 million on Aug. 31, behind the Dodgers ($261 million) and Yankees ($204 million), in Cohen’s November 2020 paycheck. The deal from the Wilpon and Katz families valued the Mets at a baseball record $2.42 billion.
Scherzer doesn’t receive a signing bonus with the Mets, but is eligible for $1.15 million per season under the deal — $100,000 for an All-Star team and $200,000 for winning a Cy Young or MVP $150,000 for second place Cy Young or MVP voting, $50,000 for third place in Cy Young or MVP voting, $150,000 for winning World Series MVP, $100,000 for winning LCS MVP .
Baseball could face a shutdown when the collective bargaining agreement expires Wednesday night, and Scherzer is a member of the union’s eight-member executive subcommittee.
His deal, like Cole’s, was negotiated by agent Scott Boras.
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