It’s official, Max Scherzer is a member of the New York Mets. The team announced the deal Wednesday, two days after the news broke that Scherzer would be signing with his former NL East rival for three years and $130 million — setting an AAV record of $43.3 million per year.
Scherzer, who hit free agency this offseason after the Nationals traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July, will now face Washington several times a year for at least the next two seasons (he has an opt out after 2023). It’s a fact that’s been difficult for Nationals fans to swallow, particularly as the organization embarks on a rebuild that makes for a murky path back to contention.
Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman joined 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday morning and talked about Scherzer’s legacy in D.C.
“It makes me feel so lucky that I’ve never had to go through those situations,” Zimmerman said. “It’s so rare for someone to play for one team. I hope the fans understand that it is a business and I think, I’m not gonna say what Max is gonna do, but I think when he goes in the Hall of Fame there’s a really good chance that he’s gonna wear a Nats hat.
“A significant and a huge part of his career was spent here and I hope people focus more on that than him going to the [Mets]. Every single person that’s pissed would take $43 million and go to the Mets so they can shove it…Could he have come back here? Yes, of course but this is a business from both ends. I hope they focus on how much he did while he was here and what he did every fifth day.”
Zimmerman is a free agent himself, though he’s made clear his intention to never play for an organization other than the Nationals. That’s a promise the 37-year-old Scherzer couldn’t make. Coming off his eighth career top-5 finish in Cy Young voting, the future Hall of Famer soared past New York Yankees starter Gerrit Cole’s previous AAV record of $36 million.
When Scherzer does eventually make it to Cooperstown, Zimmerman believes his plaque will still show a Curly W on his cap. For now, however, fans must cope with watching Scherzer suit up in blue and orange pinstripes for the foreseeable future.