The Mets are nearing a multi-year contract with Max Scherzer, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi writes (Twitter link). Based on multiple reports from earlier tonight, Scherzer may be on the verge of signing the largest average annual value contract in baseball history. SNY’s Andy Martino reported earlier tonight that the Mets were prepared to go beyond $40MM in annual salary, and in Martino’s latest tweet, he writes that New York is offering Scherzer $42MM over either three or four years. Scherzer is represented by the Boras Corporation.
The news puts an exclamation point on a pitching search that has thus far been fruitless for the Mets, as targets such as Kevin Gausman, Jon Gray, Justin Verlander, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz have all come off the board. Matz’s deal with the Cardinals even drew some public ire from Mets owner Steve Cohen on Twitter, who accused agent Rob Martin of “unprofessional behavior” in their negotiations.
Those near-misses now fade into the background in the wake of what might be a precedent-setting contract with one of the best pitchers in baseball history. Scherzer was seen as more likely to sign with a team on the West Coast, as per his preferences when leveraging his no-trade clause to join the Dodgers back at the trade deadline. As such, teams like the Dodgers, Angels, and Giants were known to be in the hunt for the 37-year-old ace, but instead, Scherzer now seems poised to return to both the East Coast and the NL East itself, after six-plus seasons with the Nationals.
While Scherzer was already a highly accomplished pitcher before he went to Washington, he rose to legendary status after signing his seven-year, $210MM free agent pact with the Nats in the 2014-15 offseason. Scherzer’s stint in D.C. included two NL Cy Young Awards (to go with his 2013 AL Cy with the Tigers), two no-hitters, a 20-strikeout game, a 2.80 ERA over 1229 innings, and the crowning achievement of the Nationals’ 2019 World Series championship. All told, a strong case can be made that Scherzer’s deal is the best mega-deal in the history of free agency.
Once the Nationals fell out of contention this summer, Scherzer and Trea Turner were dealt to Los Angeles in a blockbuster swap, and Scherzer continued to pitch well in leading the Dodgers to the NLCS. The Dodgers were still considered as the favorites to re-sign Scherzer up until just earlier this evening, as the Dodgers’ deep pockets gave them the flexibility to consider the type of huge AAV required to meet Scherzer’s asking price. MLB Trade Rumors indeed projected Scherzer to set a new AAV standard, predicting him to a land a three-year, $120MM pact to remain in Dodger blue.