Max Scherzer Signs Record Contract With The Mets By Rich Coutinho
When the New York Mets entered this off season we all knew there was laundry list of things that had to be done. But as the weeks went by, the so-called baseball experts insisted that the Mets were having trouble roping in both a general manager and players because of this sense that people do not want to come to New York and play for a team owned by Steve Cohen.
I keep telling all of you that nothing could be further from the truth but I was laughed being called names in social media I would rather not repeat. My sense was patience was a key and Cohen roped in his general manager–Billy Eppler–who brought with him a ton of experience with ownership that wanted to spend money in the free agent marketplace and that fit the job description as GM of the Mets perfectly.
The banter from the media continued once Noah Syndergaard and Aaron Loup left to go to the Angels and Michael Conforto turned down a qualifying offer And when Steven Matz signed a 4 year deal with the Cards criticism got even heavier. Cohen tweeted out his displeasure on the Matz issue and honestly I thought he was merely telling the truth on how he felt in a situation in which he felt used by an agent.
My impression on Steve Cohen from Day 1 was that he wore his heart on his sleeve and he has always been honest about that. But I also knew he had both the resources and the want to spend to improve this team. We saw that last year as he adhered to the deadline imposed by Francisco Lindor signing a core piece for years to come and added James McCann. He also showed patience not caving into the demands of George Springer knowing from his baseball people Brandon Nimmo was a force that was progressing and also knowing that Starling Marte would be a free agent this year getting him for a far better price than Springer and obtaining a player who would be a much better fit for his team.
Both Cohen and Sandy Alderson showed me that there were times they would pounce on a deal and other times show patience and in these Scherzer talks the Mets exhibited both of those qualities. They let the market define a bit knowing a potential early December lockout might catalyze activity and that is exactly what happened.
The agent here was Scott Boras who was likely a bit disappointed that Michael Conforto received only a qualifying offer which combined with the Syndergaard decision will give this team 2 more draft picks which will render them 5 picks in the roughly first 60 picks of next year’s draft.
Still Cohen and the Met baseball ops team kept the full court press on Boras for the services of Scherzer and this past weekend they pitched him from a number of sources getting a deal on the table that was impossible for Boras or Scherzer to turn down. I actually think this was a watershed moment in Met history because Cohen will continue to spend in future years and I can see Boras developing the same relationship with Cohen that he did a decade or so ago with the Washington Nationals. And it could be one that will always connect the Boras clients directly to talks with Cohen.
Make no mistake here–3 Years $130 Million is a ton of money and with an opt out after 2 years it gives Scherzer even more flexibility but the Mets knew would it would take and hit the magic number. And earlier in the month, they signed three offensive players–Starling Marte, Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar which will add depth of RBI bats as well as solid OBP numbers to the lineup. Marte was the best CF in the free agent marketplace and of course Scherzer was the best pitcher in the marketplace and Cohen roped both of them into the fold.
Do they need to do more? Yes they need a lefty in the pen and need to decide who mans second base. Will it be McNeil or Cano or maybe Baez. Baez? Any of the 3 could get the job but I do not expect Mets to overpay for Baez. Cohen knew whom exactly was the player to overpay and combined with a healthy Jacob deGrom that could be the ticket to playoff success Met fans have been waiting for making this day a glorious historical day in Met history.