By JAKE SEINER, AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) – Mets owner Steve Cohen has pledged every effort to bring a World Series back to New York.
Enter Max Scherzer, the new ace of Queens.
The Mets and the three-time Cy Young Award winner closed a three-year, $ 130 million contract on Wednesday, a deal that broke baseball’s record for highest average salary and forms a historically impressive 1-2 at the top of the New York rotation with Jacob deGrom.
Scherzer said he was convinced during a video call with Cohen last month that the second-year owner was going to do whatever it takes to build a winner at Flushing.
“You don’t hear too much of that from homeowners these days,” Scherzer said Wednesday. “When you hear that an owner wants to do whatever it takes to win, it obviously piqued my interest. “
Of course, Cohen put his wallet behind his words.
The Scherzer, 37, will earn $ 43.33 million per year, 20% more than the previous mark, Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole averaging $ 36 million in his signed nine-year $ 324 million contract before the 2020 season. Scherzer has the right to retire after the 2023 season and become a free agent again.
The eight-time star was 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA last season with the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers, who acquired him on July 30. He didn’t lose a game after May 30 and was as dominant as ever in his first nine starts with LA, going 7-0 with a 0.78 ERA.
However, the right-hander ran out of steam after heavy use in the playoffs. He was unable to start Game 6 of the NL Championship Series against Atlanta as scheduled due to arm fatigue. The Dodgers lost this game to end the series.
Scherzer said he took about two weeks off before resuming the pitch. He’s back to his normal off-season schedule, and he said the arm has turned a corner and been feeling better over the past two weeks.
“I had to see where my arm was, make sure there was no damage, and there was no damage,” he said. “I just needed the time. I overcooked my arm, I worked beyond my capacity to work and what it was built for.
“From a long-term point of view, from a structural point of view, from a health point of view, I’m good to go.
Scherzer struck out 236 at bat and walked 36 in 179 1/3 innings, averaging 94.4 mph with his fastpitch in the final season of a seven-year, $ 210 million contract that included 105 millions of dollars in deferred money payable from 2022 to 2028.
The deal will bring 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 big day for the New York Mets. It’s an even better day for our fans.
Cohen said new general manager Billy Eppler and the team’s analysis department calculated Scherzer’s value in “proximity” to where his contract ended.
“Maybe I would have added a little more for brand building, but that’s how I came up with the number,” he said.
Distinctive and scary with a blue eye on the right side and a brown on the left – a condition known as Heterochromia Iridis – Scherzer went 190-97 with a 3.16 ERA in 14 major league seasons for the Arizona (2008-09), Detroit (2010-14), Washington and the Dodgers.
Scherzer, who threw two hits, lives in West Palm Beach, Fla., About an hour’s drive from the Mets spring training complex in Port St. Lucie. With her young daughters entering school, this closeness worked in New York’s favor.
Scherzer won his first Cy Young in 2013 with Detroit, then back-to-back best pitcher awards in 2016 and ’17 with Washington. He was third in this year’s poll in Newfoundland behind Corbin Burnes of Milwaukee and Zack Wheeler of Philadelphia.
DeGrom won the Cy Young Award in 2018 and ’19, and Scherzer will be the seventh multiple-time Cy Young winner to pitch for the Mets – also Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez, Bret Saberhagen, Johan Santana and Tom Seaver. That’s two more than any other franchise, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Scherzer and deGrom will be the seventh pair of teammates to launch together after winning multiple Cy Young. Scherzer did it with Clayton Kershaw last season, and the Mets had the previous two pair with Martinez-Santana in 2008 and Martinez-Glavine in 2005-07.
Scherzer has also been a teammate with Cy Young winners David Price, Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, Robbie Ray, Brandon Webb and Randy Johnson.
“I’ve been fortunate throughout my career to have some great starting pitchers by my side,” said Scherzer. “I know how powerful it can be, to have guys to feed you and to watch some great pitchers.”
DeGrom did not pitch after July 7 of this year due to right forearm oppression, and Scherzer said he called deGrom to verify his status and inquire about the New York market. before signing. They will lead a rotation that also includes Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan Walker and Tylor Megill.
Noah Syndergaard, returning from Tommy John surgery, is gone on a one-year, $ 21 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels. The Mets lost to southpaw Steven Matz, whose four-year, $ 44 million contract with the St. Louis Cardinals was finalized on Monday.
The Mets also struck 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 with an option of club). They also have an ongoing deal with infielder Eduardo Escobar ($ 20 million over two years), subject to a successful physical exam.
The Mets had the third largest baseball payroll on Aug.31 at $ 196 million, behind the Dodgers ($ 261 million) and Yankees ($ 204 million). November 2020 from the Wilpon and Katz families in a deal that valued the Mets at a baseball record of $ 2.42 billion.
Scherzer doesn’t get a signing bonus with the Mets, but is eligible for a $ 1.15 million performance bonus each season as part of the deal – $ 100,000 for making an All-Star squad, 200 $ 000 each for winning a Cy Young Award or MVP, $ 150,000 for finishing second in the Cy Young or MVP Vote, $ 50,000 for finishing third in the Cy Young or MVP vote, $ 150,000 for winning the MVP of World Series and $ 100,000 for winning the LCS MVP.
As baseball heads to a likely lockout when the collective agreement expires Wednesday night, Scherzer is a member of the union’s eight-player executive subcommittee.
His deal, like Cole’s, was negotiated by Agent Scott Boras.
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