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Max Scherzer Injury Woes Make Rangers Trade a Rare Early Win for Big-Spending New York Mets

Published 12/15/2023, 9:42 PM EST

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Once upon a time in Citi Field, Max Scherzer’s nameplate was on the lockers of the New York Mets. Well, he shared a complicated relationship with the team, after all. In just over one and a half seasons with the Mets, though he helped the team in many ways, he stood “culpable for their failures” per MLB.com. Though his saga in the Queens is an important one, he just didn’t seem to fit well with NY. Hence this July, his tenure with them came to an end and he joined the World Series-winning Texas Rangers. Did the Mets regret letting Scherzer go? 

The three-time Cy Young award winner bid his farewell to New York following a trade to the Rangers. What cannot go unnoticed here is that the franchise had signed an $86.6 million, 2-year contract with the 39-year-old. But this premature trade drew in some ridicule about a potential misstep in the first place; especially after the Rangers won the 2023 Fall Classic. However, owing to his injuries, this was not a bad move for the Mets after all.  

Star Pitcher is navigating the crossroads

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The latest update on Scherzer’s health is that the right-hander will be sidelined until mid-season as a result of undergoing surgery for a herniated disk. The Chesterfield-born made a statement to the ESPN on Friday. “After several conservative treatments and consulting with multiple specialists, I made the decision to have the recommended surgery. Getting this procedure done now will give me the best chance to pitch as much as possible for the Rangers in 2024. I look forward to putting in the rehab work and getting back on the mound next summer.”

It is also to note that he missed time toward the end of 2023 due to a triceps issue. With that he made three postseason appearances for the WS. He’d be joining the injured list alongside teammates, Jacob deGrom and recently acquired right-hander Tyler Mahle, who are recovering from Tommy John surgery, and are targeting a return around that period. That said, it’s worth circling back to how the two teams are managing Max’s contract. 

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The 2023 World Series Champ is covering all bases

Earlier, GM Billy Eppler explained that, “I do want to be clear that it’s not a rebuild. It’s not a fire sale. It’s not a liquidation. This is just a repurposing of [owner] Steve [Cohen’s] investment in the club, and kind of shifting that investment from the team into the organization”.

As part of the deal, NY would pay all but $22.5 million of Scherzer’s salary. The reason is his deferred money on his previous contract. With that Scherzer is the unique player in MLB to earn at least $15 million from three organizations—namely, the Nationals, Mets, and Rangers. Though there was a cost to this step, there came an advantage.

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As the trade goes, in exchange, New York received top prospect Luisangel Acuña. Not to mention, Luisangel is Ronald Acuna Jr.’s younger brother. Having the 21-year-old is a strategy employed on a lesser scale in previous trades. The hope is that this move can help them dodge a long-term rebuild.

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Written by:

Kanishka Prakash

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Edited by:

Deepanshi Bajaj