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- American baseball player
The only thing Max Scherzer worries about these days is what jersey number he’ll be wearing next season in Flushing.
The hard decision – choosing the Mets over the other teams vying for his services during the 2022 campaign and beyond – is complete. Scherzer was officially welcomed to New York by owner Steve Cohen, team president Sandy Alderson and GM Billy Eppler on Wednesday. And with agent Scott Boras by his side, Scherzer explained exactly what led to his decision to head back to the NL East, but with the blue and orange this time around.
“First, when I took the Zoom call with Steve and Billy, got to know those two. Steve said it’s whatever it takes to win here," he told the media during his news conference. "He looks at this as he wants to win a championship and he’s going to do whatever it takes to win. You don’t hear that from owners too often these days, and when you can finally hear any owner wants to do whatever it takes to win, obviously that piqued my interest.”
Scherzer went on to point out one factor that every Mets fan is salivating about currently: Pitching alongside Jacob deGrom.
“Obviously when you look at the team, the most obvious things is, yeah, I’m pitching with Jake,” Scherzer said grinning. “That’s the most obvious thing that I saw.”
If deGrom returns to the Mets healthy this season, this would be the best 1-2 punch in a starting rotation in the league and it’s not even close. Both pitchers are multiple Cy Young Award winners and rank at the upper echelon of pitchers in the league.
Scherzer admitted that after the Zoom with Eppler and Cohen, he contacted deGrom to get a feel for the Mets. From there, it was an easy call to make.
“I called Jake after our meeting just to get a sense of what New York was like and how he’s feeling and everything,” Scherzer explained. “Just get a state of where he’s at. Came away happy with it and dream of pitching with him. We can do some great things together.”
Being close to his home in Jupiter, Fla. played a role, too. Many believed Scherzer wanted the West Coast, but after a stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Scherzer felt that distance and noted it being hard on his family. With spring training not too far away in Port St. Lucie as well as New York being a quick flight down to the Sunshine State, Scherzer can spend more time with his wife and girls.
Finally, Scherzer said other players like newly acquired Eduardo Escobar made Scherzer excited for what the Mets clubhouse will become.
“In the time of my career, clubhouses can change. It only takes a few guys to change it. I’ve seen it happen many times. Different guys I’ve played with over the years, they come in and bring a certain kind of energy and kinda the whole vibe can change within the clubhouse. For me, I feel like the guys we’re bringing in can do that, can obviously change that.”
It all made sense to Scherzer, and the $43.3 million AAV over the next three years obviously helps too. But if it weren't for the Mets’ initial pursuit and strategy, none of this would’ve been possible.
“We started this offseason, we set out to make a real impact to our club,” Eppler said. “Max was at the top of our list. Doing our work on Max, we came to learn that he has a special way of perceiving the game. In every sense of the word, he’s a pro. He brings a relentlessness and an obsession to win to our clubhouse.”
So Scherzer will continue to contemplate what number he’ll wear since Nos. 31 and 37 are unavailable at the moment. But no matter the number, New York is where he wants to be vying for another World Series title to add to his Hall of Fame-worthy accolades.
“At this point in my career, you put all those things together and that’s when I said I’m going to be a New York Met,” said Scherzer.