The New York Mets have agreed to a deal with three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer to a three-year, $130 million deal on Monday morning.
The deal breaks the MLB record for highest annual salary at $43.3 million, breaking the previous record held by Gerrit Cole when he joined the New York Yankees.
Talk about a bombshell of a bow to put on top of a Mets weekend that featured the acquisitions of Eduardo Escobar, Starling Marte, and Mark Canha on Friday.
The 37-year-old is still one of the best pitchers in all of baseball, which he especially proved during the second half of the 2021 season after he was traded from the Nationals to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In 11 starts with the NL West club, Scherzer went 7-0 with a 1.98 ERA and a WHIP of 0.820. It further padded an already impressive season that ended with a 15-4 record, 2.46 ERA, and an MLB-best 0.864 WHIP.
Mets owner Steve Cohen has now given out the two largest contracts in Mets history and the Scherzer deal catapults the team to No. 1 on Major League Baseball’s highest payroll charts. It’s the first time since 1989 that they own MLB’s highest payroll, which was at just $21.3 million back then, per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo.
Now, Scherzer forms one-half of what could very well be the most imposing 1-2 punch of starting pitchers in Major League Baseball alongside Jacob deGrom as the two have combined to win five Cy Young Awards over the last decade.
His addition eases the anxiety that had been surrounding the Mets’ starting rotation dating back to last season.
Jacob deGrom’s injury issues that cut short what could have been one of the greatest pitching performances in the modern era headlined the uncertainty that surrounded a rotation that saw Carlos Carrasco, David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi, and Jordan Yamamoto deal with injuries. Taijuan Walker — an All-Star during the first half of the season — battled inconsistencies during the latter stages of the summer.
Noah Syndergaard, who pitched just two innings at the end of the season after an arduous comeback from Tommy John surgery, turned down the Mets’ $18.4 million qualifying offer to sign with the Los Angeles Angels.
The Mets are still believed to be in the market for another starting pitcher; though the market has quickly thinned due to the looming transactional freeze that is expected to come when the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement expires at 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 1.
Kevin Gausman and John Gray — both Mets targets — joined the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers, respectively, on Sunday night. The former reportedly was offered more money by New York but turned it down for Toronto.
Retaining Marcus Stroman is still an option for the Mets to round out what could become an impressive-looking rotation on paper. The 30-year-old righty tweeted last week that the Mets were not all that interested in bringing him back, but the team’s most consistent and reliable pitcher in 2021 now finds himself as one of the last remaining big fish on the market when it comes to starting pitching.
But for now, at least, the Mets can comfortably prepare for a 2022 season in which 40% of their games will be started by future Hall of Famers.