Rangers acquire Scherzer from Mets in blockbuster move by surprise AL West leaders
The Texas Rangers acquired three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer in a blockbuster trade with the New York Mets, an all-in move for the surprise AL West leaders.
Both teams announced the deal Sunday after news of the agreement broke Saturday evening. Texas manager Bruce Bochy said Scherzer will make his Rangers debut Thursday when he starts at home against the Chicago White Sox.
The trade netted the Mets one of Texas’ top prospects in infielder Luisangel Acuña, the younger brother of Atlanta star Ronald Acuña Jr. New York said he will be optioned to Double-A Binghamton.
Scherzer waived his no-trade clause to complete the deal. He also agreed to opt in on the final year of his contract in 2024 at $43.3 million, according to reports that also said the Mets were paying about $35 million of the remaining $58 million on the right-hander’s contract.
The 39-year-old Scherzer joins another former Mets ace in Texas: injured right-hander Jacob deGrom. However, the two-time Cy Young Award winner had Tommy John surgery last month that could sideline him through the end of next season.
The Mets, one of baseball’s biggest disappointments, unloaded Scherzer just days after sending closer David Robertson to Miami for two minor leaguers Thursday night.
New York began the season with the highest payroll in baseball at $353 million but started Sunday 18 games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East and seven games back in the wild-card race with a string of teams to catch.
The next question is what the Mets will do with Justin Verlander, another three-time Cy Young Award winner signed through next season. There should be plenty of suitors for the 40-year-old right-hander, who pitched Sunday against Washington.
Texas has emerged from six consecutive losing seasons to lead the AL West all but one day in Bochy’s first season in charge. Bochy won three World Series championships from 2010-14 as manager of the San Francisco Giants.
The Rangers made the first notable move of this trading season by getting once-dominant closer Aroldis Chapman from Kansas City in June. Chapman has stayed in a setup role with Will Smith handling most of the closing duties.
Now, Texas has bolstered the rotation knowing deGrom might be out until Scherzer’s contract expires at the end of next season.
The trade announcement came on the same day the Rangers placed All-Star right-hander Nathan Eovaldi on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to July 27, with a right forearm strain.
The Rangers added deGrom in the offseason on a $185 million, five-year contract, knowing there was risk in signing the oft-injured right-hander.
He lasted just six starts — all Texas wins — before elbow issues sidelined deGrom for a month. It took multiple MRIs to determine the extent of the damage to his elbow, and the Tommy John procedure in June was the second of his career. The other was in rookie ball with the Mets in 2010.
“I think we need to improve as a starting rotation,” Bochy said before the Rangers’ game at San Diego on Saturday night, as reports of the trade were circulating. “I think that’s fair to say.”
Scherzer (9-4) was leading the Mets in wins but had his highest ERA (4.01) since 2011 with Detroit. The eight-time All-Star started Friday at home against Washington, allowing one run over seven innings in a 5-1 New York victory.
With 210 career wins, Scherzer is third among active pitchers behind Verlander and Kansas City’s Zack Greinke.