I know Bobby Bonilla has become the poster child for deferred contracts but at least he didn’t do any damage to the New York Mets other than some embarrassment toward the Wilpons.
The same cannot be said about the relationship between Max Scherzer and the paycheck(s) he has coming his way from the Washington Nationals. Scherzer’s old deal with his ex-team included a lot of deferred money to begin after the deal was over.
The stars have aligned in the Mets’ favor this time. Scherzer is set to receive $15 million per year from the Nationals beginning in 2022. To put it another way:
When Max Scherzer and the Mets win in D.C., dinner is on the Nationals
So if Scherzer stays with the Mets for all three years of his deal that equates to $45 million coming his way from a rival team as he makes a whole bunch more from his current squad. Even if he opts out after two years, that’s $30 million he earned to hopefully beat up on his old team a few times per year.
It’s a ridiculous number of Benjamin Franklins. But this is professional sports. Everything about it is silly.
This situation is far different from the typical deferred deals you’ll find in baseball. They’re typically not this rich nor do you find a guy signing with a rival squad to do damage for a few years. Someone as important to a franchise’s history as Scherzer is to the Nationals surely causes a little bit of pain in the D.C. front office’s sciatica.
As luck would have it, the Mets and Nationals a whole bunch early on. The two open the year at Citi Field for three games. A weekend later, they have four scheduled in Washington. Scherzer’s first two starts of the 2022 season will take place against the club whose hat he’ll wear into Cooperstown—the same one paying him to help put them in an early hole next season.
Likely, the Nationals front office and fans aren’t crying too hard about this twist in the deferred contract. They did win the 2019 World Series after all. They got the most out of Scherzer they could.
For at least the next two seasons, wins against the Nationals with Scherzer on the mound are going to be a little more special knowing the team in Washington paid for the car ride to get him to the ballpark.