The Scherzer to the Mets contract is worth $130 million over just three seasons. That’s an annual value of over $43 million, which sets a new MLB record and surpasses all MLB offseason predictions pundits made about Scherzer’s free agency.
Max Scherzer free agent contract
Of course, the record-setting deal begs the question of whether or not the Mets overpaid to get Scherzer.
The three-time Cy Young winner is arguably the most accomplished pitcher on the free agent market this winter, even surpassing Clayton Kershaw in any Scherzer vs Kershaw debate. But does that mean the 37-year-old is worth the money the Mets are giving him?
Is the Scherzer to the Mets contract worth it?
The easy answer is that Scherzer is not worth the money and that the Mets surely overpaid to get him. At over $43 million per season, Scherzer’s deal blows away the previous record of annual contract value set by Gerrit Cole and the Yankees two years ago. Cole’s contract earns him an average of $36 million per season, well below Scherzer’s new average.
Keep in mind that Cole was very much in his prime when he signed that contract with the Yankees. On the contrary, Scherzer will be 40 by the end of his three years in New York, assuming he doesn’t exercise his opt-out after the second season. On top of his age, Scherzer suffered from a dead arm during the postseason, hindering the Dodgers during their playoff run and adding a tinge of uncertainty for Scherzer heading into free agency.
Of course, if the Mets wanted Scherzer, they had little choice but to overpay him. At the start of the offseason, most believed that Scherzer preferred to sign with a West Coast team. After all, that was also his preference when the Nationals needed him to waive his no-trade clause at the trade deadline last summer. In other words, if the Mets wanted to get Scherzer to join their rotation, they needed to overpay him in a big way.
However, overpaying for Scherzer isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If there is a pitcher on the market this winter who’s worth overpaying to get, it could be him. Concerns about his age and his dead arm in October aside, Scherzer has shown no signs of slowing down. He made 30 starts this past season, going 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA. The shortened 2020 season remains the only time in the last seven years that his ERA was over 3.00.
There is still every reason to believe that Scherzer has two or three years left of being a frontline starter who can make a big difference. By getting Scherzer, the Mets arguably have the best 1-2 punch of any team in baseball alongside Jacob deGrom. They also have a bonafide ace who can lead their rotation in case deGrom’s injury woes from the second half of 2021 continue.
At worse, Scherzer’s contract is an expensive insurance policy for deGrom to make sure the Mets don’t have another season that falls apart as their 2021 campaign did once their ace was lost to injury. But the best-case scenario is that Scherzer and deGrom both stay healthy over the next few years and give the Mets the best starting pitcher tandem in baseball. If the Scherzer-deGrom tandem happens to lead the Mets to a championship at any point in the next three seasons, overpaying for Scherzer will have been well worth it.