The New York Mets already boast one of the best pitchers in baseball in two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom. Now, they’ll bring even more firepower to the mound in 2022 with the addition of veteran starter Max Scherzer to the rotation.
New York signed Scherzer to a three-year, $130 million contract, according to multiple media sources.
Scherzer commands highest average salary ever
That deal will pay Scherzer an average of $43.33 million per year, the most ever for any MLB player. That far outstrips the $36 million annual average Gerrit Cole is earning on his nine-year deal with the New York Yankees.
The contract is the latest evidence that new Mets owner Steve Cohen will spend freely to make his team a contender. New York made several signings over the past week, including outfielder Starling Marte and infielder Eduardo Escobar.
But, the Scherzer signing dwarfs those deals. The 37-year-old veteran is a three-time Cy Young Award winner. Despite being late in his career, Scherzer continues to perform at an elite level. In 2021, he went 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA for the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers. That was good enough to finish third in the National League Cy Young race.
Betting markets reacted strongly to the signing. The Mets started the offseason far down the board, not ranking among the top 10 World Series contenders. Now, DraftKings Sportsbook lists New York at +1300, tied for the sixth-shortest World Series odds with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Dodgers remain the +600 favorites to win a title in 2022.
Mets rotation dangerous if healthy
That’s not to say that the Scherzer signing was a no-brainer for the Mets. New York is now committed to paying the veteran for three years, at a time when many players start to decline sharply. There are also questions over Scherzer’s durability: he missed one playoff start due to fatigue in 2021. deGrom is coming off of an injury-shortened season himself, making the Mets’ rotation seem fragile at the top.
|2022 World Series Odds (via DraftKings Sportsbook)|
|Los Angeles Dodgers: +600||Houston Astros: +850|
|New York Yankees: +1000||Tampa Bay Rays: +1100|
|Chicago White Sox: +1100||Toronto Blue Jays: +1300|
|New York Mets: +1300||Atlanta Braves: +1400|
|San Diego Padres: +1700||San Francisco Giants: +1800|
|Milwaukee Brewers: +1800||Boston Red Sox: +1800|
But, the upside was simply too much for New York to ignore. Scherzer will replace Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, both of whom left the Mets during the offseason. If they can stay healthy, deGrom and Scherzer will represent the most formidable 1-2 punch at the top of a rotation in the majors and provide a huge edge for the Mets if they reach the postseason.
Scherzer’s signing is just the latest in a surprisingly active offseason, as many expected owners to be cautious given the uncertainty over the expiring MLB CBA. The Texas Rangers have been particularly aggressive, signing Corey Seager to a 10-year, $325 million contract, and adding Marcus Semien on a seven-year, $175 million deal. Still, the Rangers remain a +9000 long shot to win the World Series in 2022.