NEW YORK (AP) — Mets owner Steve Cohen promised a max effort bringing a World Series back to New York.
Enter Max Scherzer, the newest ace in Queens.
The Mets and the three-time Cy Young Award winner finalized a $130 million, three-year deal Wednesday, a contract that shattered baseball's record for highest average salary and forms a historically impressive 1-2 atop New York's rotation with Jacob deGrom.
The 37-year-old Scherzer will earn $43.33 million per year, 20% higher than the previous mark, the $36 million Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole is averaging in his $324 million, nine-year contract signed prior to the 2020 season. Scherzer has the right to opt out after the 2023 season and become a free agent again.
The eight-time All-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 especially dominant in his first nine starts with LA, going 7-0 with an 0.78 ERA.
He ran out of steam following heavy usage in the postseason, though, unable to start Game 6 of the NL Championship Series against Atlanta as planned due to arm fatigue. The Dodgers lost that game to end the series.
Scherzer 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.
He is not getting a signing bonus with the Mets but is eligible for $1.15 million in performance bonuses each season under the deal — $100,000 for making an All-Star team, $200,000 each for winning a Cy Young Award or MVP, $150,000 for finishing second in Cy Young or MVP voting, $50,000 for finishing third in Cy Young or MVP voting, $150,000 for winning World Series MVP and $100,000 for winning LCS MVP. The deal will raise his career earnings to at least $370 million.
Distinctive and fearsome with a blue eye on the right side and a brown one on the left — a condition known as Heterochromia Iridis — Scherzer is 190-97 with a 3.16 ERA in 14 major league seasons for Arizona (2008-09), Detroit (2010-14), Washington and the Dodgers.
Scherzer lives in West Palm Beach, Florida, about an hour’s drive from the Mets spring training complex in Port St. Lucie.
He won his first Cy Young in 2013 with Detroit, then consecutive best-pitcher awards in 2016 and '17 with Washington. He finished third in this year's NL balloting behind Milwaukee's Corbin Burnes and Philadelphia's Zack Wheeler.
DeGrom won the Cy Young Award in 2018 and '19, and Scherzer will be the seventh multi-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 the Elias Sports Bureau.
Scherzer and deGrom will be the seventh pair of teammates to pitch together after winning multiple Cy Youngs. Scherzer did it with Clayton Kershaw last season, and the Mets had the previous two pairings with Martinez-Santana in 2008 and Martinez-Glavine from 2005-07.
Scherzer has thrown two no-hitters, both in 2015, and one of them came against the Mets at Citi Field.
As baseball heads to a likely lockout when the collective bargaining agreement expires Wednesday night, Scherzer is a member of the union’s eight-player executive subcommittee.
His agreement, like Cole’s, was negotiated by agent Scott Boras.
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Jake Seiner, The Associated Press