It didn’t take long for Max Scherzer to mention his new partner, Jacob deGrom, upon joining the New York Mets.
After signing a record-breaking three-year, $130 million pact with owner Steve Cohen in Queens, Scherzer — a three-time Cy Young Award winner — admitted that pitching with the two-time Cy Young Award winner in deGrom was “an obvious thing that I saw,” when assessing his options.
“I called Jake after [meeting with the Mets] just to get a sense of what New York is like and how he’s feeling,” Scherzer said during his introductory press conference Wednesday. “Just get a state of where he’s at. Came away happy with it and the dream of pitching with him, we can do some great things together.”
Now, Scherzer and deGrom have formed the most lethal 1-2 punch of starting pitchers Major League Baseball has seen in quite some time, combining five Cy Young Awards and a 2.25 ERA since the start of the 2015 season.
“He’s one of the best pitchers of this or any generation,” Cohen said of Scherzer. “Now we get to pair Max with one of the other great generational pitchers, Jacob deGrom.”
The acquisition of Scherzer was a must for a Mets team that entered the offseason with overarching questions involving their starting rotation.
While deGrom dealt with an injury-riddled 2021 season that cut short what might have been one of the greatest single-season performances by a starting pitcher in the modern era, Carlos Carrasco, David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi, and Jordan Yamomoto all dealt with health issues as well. All the while, Noah Syndergaard’s rehab from Tommy John surgery experienced setback after setback — pushing his return from June to late September.
Syndergaard, now healthy, declined the Mets’ qualifying offer to sign with the Los Angeles Angels while Marcus Stroman — the team’s most reliable pitcher in 2021 — is on the free-agent market and revealed that New York wasn’t all that interested in bringing him back.
That left the Mets with deGrom, another injury-bothered arm in Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan Walker – who struggled in the second half after an All-Star-worthy start — and Peterson as the only legitimate options.
Scherzer not only bolsters the rotation, but it also makes it one of the best in the National League; a status that could only improve as the Mets are expected to look for one more starting pitcher this winter.