Former New York Mets starting pitcher Max Scherzer was officially added to the Texas Rangers American League Championship Series roster ahead of Game 1 against the Houston Astros and another former Met, Justin Verlander, on Sunday.
Scherzer had been sidelined since Sept. 12 due to a muscle strain in his shoulder after making just eight starts with Texas following a trade-deadline deal that saw the Mets clean house by dealing the three-time Cy Young Award winner along with the likes of Verlander, Tommy Pham, David Robertson, and Mark Canha.
“Just give me a chance, give me a chance, give me a chance, let me get back into this thing,” Scherzer said after the Rangers swept the Baltimore Orioles to clinch an ALCS berth (h/t Mike Leslie, WFAA). “I’ve been grinding away, doing everything I can to just be in a position to have a chance, and the guys going out there and provide that chance.”
The 39-year-old right-hander went 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA with the Rangers after starting the year 9-4 with a swollen 4.01 ERA with the Mets. It was one of the worst starts of a season for Scherzer, who dealt with a neck issue and a 10-game suspension in April after violating MLB’s sticky-stuff policy.
As it became obvious amidst a disastrous opening three months of the season that the Mets were out of contention, Scherzer and owner Steve Cohen discussed the team’s future that couldn’t guarantee legitimate World Series contention in 2024 — sparking the pursuit of a trade.
Thanks to the Mets eating a portion of Scherzer’s remaining salary, the Rangers gave up one of their top prospects in infielder Luisangel Acuna, who is now the No. 1 ranked Mets prospect by MLB Pipeline.
Just days later, Verlander was dealt back to the Astros for two other blue-chip prospects, Drew Gilbert and Ryan Clifford. Verlander went 7-3 with a 3.31 ERA in his second stint in Houston after a half-season in New York. He was given the ball to start Game 1 of the ALCS on Sunday night.