Eight-time All-Star Max Scherzer has agreed to a $130 million, three-year contract with the New York Mets according to multiple sources.
The $43.33 million average salary would easily set a baseball record, smashing the $36 million Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole in averaging in his $324 million, nine-year contract with the New York Yankees.
Scherzer, a 37-year-old right-hander, would have the right to opt out after the 2023 season to become a free agent once again. Scherzer also receives a full no-trade provision, requiring his approval for any deals.
A three-time Cy Young Award winner, Scherzer was 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA last season for the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers, who acquired him on July 30. He struck out 236 and walked 36 in 179 1/3 innings, averaging 94.4 mph with his fastball in the final season of a $210 million, seven-year contract that included $105 million in deferred money payable from 2022-28.
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He is 190-97 with a 3.16 ERA in 14 major league seasons for Arizona (2008-09), Detroit (2010-14), Washington and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
A workhorse who helped the Nationals win the 2019 World Series title, Scherzer won the AL Cy Young in 2013 and consecutive NL Cy Youngs in 2016 and 2017. Scherzer joins a rotation headed by two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, who didn’t pitch after July 7 because of right forearm tightness.
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Scherzer instantly became a fan favorite after being acquired by the Dodgers at the MLB trade deadline and helped them match a franchise record with 106 wins.
Scherzer started the team's winner-take-all Wild Card Game at Dodger Stadium against the St. Louis Cardinals. He allowed just one run over 4.1 innings, a game the Dodgers eventually won a walk-off, two-run home run by Chris Taylor in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Scherzer would go on to start Game 3 of the pivotal five-game NLDS series between the rival San Francisco Giants and Dodgers. It was the first time the two bitter rivals had ever met in a postseason series. Despite pitching well in Game 3, the Dodgers were shutout by the Giants, 1-0, with the only run coming on a home run by Evan Longoria off Scherzer in the fifth inning.
Scherzer would redeem himself by closing out the fifth and final game of the series at Oracle Park. Scherzer came out of the bullpen to pitch the ninth inning, earning the save for the Dodgers who would advance to the NLCS for the fifth time in six years. However, the cost of using Scherzer in relief would take its toll.
Scherzer dealt with arm fatigue in Game 2 of the best of seven series against the Braves and was only able to pitch 4.1 innings of an eventual 5-4 loss to the Braves. Scherzer was then scheduled to start Game 6, an elimination game for the Dodgers, but the arm fatigue never subsided, and he was a last-minute scratch. Walker Buehler pitched on short rest instead, and the Dodgers would lose the game and the series 4-2. Scherzer would never again pitch for the Dodgers.
According to sources familiar with the discussions, the Dodgers were interested in re-signing Scherzer this offseason. They were seen as the betting favorites early in free agency, but by Thanksgiving weekend, had reportedly fallen into the third position behind the Mets and Angels. The Giants were also interested in the three-time Cy Young Award winner.
Sources indicated that the Dodgers were more open to a two-year, $40+ million contract with Scherzer, and were likely hesitant on including a third year like the Mets gave him. The Dodgers also still have 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer under contract for the 2022 season after he opted-in to his deal at the end of the year. MLB is expected to levy a suspension against Bauer at some point, complicating matters for the Dodgers front office who still doesn't know if, when, or the length of the looming suspension.
The Dodgers also have a bevy of free agents they are interested in re-signing this offseason. In addition to Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, Chris Taylor, Kenley Jansen, and Joe Kelly are just many of the free agents the Dodgers are interested in retaining.
Meanwhile the Mets, who lost Noah Syndergaard in free agency after he signed a $21 million, one-year contract with the Angels, also lost out on on left-hander Steven Matz, whose $44 million, four-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals was set to be finalized on Monday.
New York also has pending deals with center fielder Starling Marte ($78 million for four years), outfielder/first baseman Mark Canha and infielder Eduardo Escobar, all contingent on successful physicals.