Max Scherzer won’t pitch on Opening Day for the Texas Rangers in 2024. He won’t even pitch on a random Tuesday in May. Now expected to be out until at least midseason, the decision by the New York Mets to send him to the Rangers at last year’s trade deadline looks much more comforting.
A victory lap in declaring the trade a win for the Mets is premature. Let’s remember a few things. The Mets are still paying Scherzer another $20,833,334 in 2024. Steve Cohen might not notice it gone from his bank account. The problem is it will limit how much the team spends this offseason if they truly do want to reset the payroll to avoid harsh penalties again next year.
Not only did the Mets eat a whole lot of money that already seems like it will affect them negatively this year, we have to consider the two factors the fans care about most. Scherzer has a World Series ring. The player they got for him hit .243 for the organization in Double-A.
The Rangers have the lead over the Mets in the Max Scherzer trade
Luisangel Acuna slowed down after this trade. He went from hitting .315/.377/.453 out in Frisco to slashing .243/.317/.304 in Binghamton. He had just 5 extra-base hits after coming over to the Mets organization. It’s nothing to be concerned about. It is, however, enough to wonder why so many fans already believe the Mets are the unequivocal victors from this deal.
Famous on sports talk radio, the old “would you have this awful thing happen to your team for a championship?” argument favors the Rangers. Scherzer was small at moments for them, but a 4-2 record and 3.20 ERA in 8 regular season starts was par for the course. His absence from the first two rounds of the postseason and a combined 9.2 innings in three starts after are what we remember most from him.
Three innings out of your future Hall of Fame pitcher in a World Series appearance? What have we done…?
The Rangers still won Scherzer’s start against the Arizona Diamondbacks. A loaded rotation allowed them to turn to Jon Gray for a little help for the next three frames after Scherzer’s exit. Texas didn’t get the dominant performance they wanted from him. Then again, Scherzer has never been known to roll through the playoffs without a problem. Good at times and not so much at others, he’s not quite Clayton Kershaw but miles behind Madison Bumgarner in the postseason.
Meanwhile, as the Rangers get to gloat for a couple of months, the Mets have a promising prospect who we’re told will be really good. We haven’t seen it up close yet.
Missing half of a season and the Rangers paying only about half of Scherzer’s salary takes away any thoughts of a discount. Surely, they don’t mind.
Harkening back to the old sports radio bit of “would you have this awful thing happen to your team for a championship?” debate, 10 out of 10 Rangers fans should feel like they won this one. Acuna was expendable for them already with their middle infield situation. Unwilling to mess with the butterfly effect no matter how poorly Scherzer pitched at times in Texas, their fans would be fools to take back this trade.
Let’s check back on this deal when Acuna is celebrating in the Citi Field locker room with some champagne in late October.