ScherzerBy now, you’ve lapped up all the ink spilled in praise of the Washington Nationals and their forward-thinking signing of Max Scherzer. The Scherzer deal wasn’t an old fashioned, Steinbrennerian, throw-bags-of money-at-Scott-Boras kind of agreement – although, in effect, that is surely what happened. No, this one actually took a page from the Mets’ old playbook: the deal was announced as a seven-year, $210 million accord, but half that total is deferred. So it’s really a fourteen-year contract at $15 million per year, a relative bargain for a hurler of Scherzer’s stature – but it’s still an awful lot of money. As tempting as it might be to equate Max Scherzer’s future financial security with that of Bobby Bonilla, Washington still comes out looking better.

In any case, the Mets optimism must now be tempered even further. Scherzer lands right at the top of an already strong pitching staff and on a team who was already the odds-on favorite to take the NL flag. As the pundits on the MLB Network all nodded in agreement, newspaperman Joel Sherman flat-out declared that “it’s a race for second” in the NL East. Mets’ scribe Adam Rubin brought home the point starkly when he Tweeted that, in the opening series of the season, the Mets are likely to face Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and one of Jordan Zimmerman, Doug Fister or Gio Gonzales. The Mets will most likely counter with Jon Niese, Zack Wheeler and Bartolo Colon. From that small sample, you can’t blame a Mets fan for envisioning another 4-15 — or worse! — season’s tally against the Nats. When you consider that the Mets have made very few changes in the wake of a 79-83 season and several other teams have been whirlwinds of activity since November, all the brave talk from David Wright and Jacob deGrom about playoff appearances in 2015 rings pretty hollow. If you take contending for the division out of the equation – as almost everybody is, at this point – that leaves the Mets in competition with San Francisco, San Diego, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Chicago, possibly Cincinnati and Miami for one of the two Wild Card spots. Eight teams for two spots: which one will they beat out? Yes the Mets have potentially wonderful starting pitching, probably second best in the NL East.

Second best.

Will it be enough? There’s more than a little doubt.

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley .

18 comments on “Nationals Sign Max Scherzer, Mets’ Hopes Take A Hit

  • Chris F

    Hopes may take a hit, but reality gives a solid foundation to work from. Any hope for October baseball drives right through wild card town. From there its a strategy on how to survive to that point. Sure, win more games. But strategic series’ will be huge for a team like the Mets. Ant most importantly, taking 2 of 3 in as many “expected” series wins is vital. We left far too many wins on the table in Chicago, Houston, Colorado etc. in recent seasons past.

    • pete

      Chris as I wrote in another post. until the Mets play .500 or better at Citi, this team is going nowhere.

  • Since68

    The Nats were already picked to win the division, this changes little.
    They are going to have to get rid of a pitcher. Gio is the weakest, but he is the only lefty, so it will most likely be Zimmerman. He only has one year of control, so they won’t get a lot back. Overall, this makes the rotation a few years older and only slightly better.

    What would be worst is for Zimmermann or Shields going to SF, SD, Pitt, StL, Mil, Chi or Miami.

    • Julian

      I could never see Zimmerman getting traded to Miami, due to the in-division scare. That being said, the haul they could actually get from a desperate team could be scary.

  • Rob

    We were never challenging the Nationals anyway, like Since68 says above we need to see where the four shoes of Shields and Zimmerman drop before we can see how bad this is for the Mets.

  • James Newman

    This completely ruined the Mets’ offseason hopes. When I read Scherzer went to Washington, I thought “how could the Nats out of all teams get him”, and just became so disappointed. The only good thing that can come out of this, is if they trade Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman or Desmond, but even then, would it make a difference?

    • pete

      Sorry James no it would not make a difference because whoever they decide to trade what the Nat’s will get back will offset any gains the Mets make. Maybe Shields ends up in Miami! How’s that for killing a dream of a wild card?

  • Patrick Albanesius

    Much despair I sense in you.

    • pete

      No despair Patrick. I’m just being realistic. I’m waiting for a beat reporter for the Mets to ask Fred or Jeff why the team did not invest any money they received from the new television contracts. And how is it they can rationalize to the fan base running this organization on a shoestring budget and be grossly outspent by teams that play in much smaller markets. I know silence is golden but not in this case.

  • eraff

    Chappelle: “Bitch!!!!…Cant you see that I’m Broke??!!!!”

  • Metsense

    The Mets inability to adjust to the ever changing landscape of the National League because of financial restrictions and indecisiveness has widened the gap between playoff hopeful and division contender. I can fully understand if management does not want to spend on the Scherzer, Pujols, Cano, Ellsbury type of contracts. I can’t accept that they don’t spend major league average payroll to field a team. Every poster on this site could wisely spend the extra $20M to improve this team. The Mets problem is that they need to “cash in” on every small free agent signing because a “mistake signing” is too crippling for the budget. This is an unrealistic expectation. Chris Young type “risk signings” that fail should be expected and budgeted in and a backup plan ready but that back up plan costs money to implement. The Mets don’t have that kind of money. LaTroy Hawkins would have been a signing like that but the Mets couldn’t risk the $4.5M for two years! The Wilpon’s don’t have the financial resources to run this team properly and the fans must suffer because of it.

    • pete

      Metsense that’s why I continually bring up the fact that if the Mets were going to add any payroll they would of done it this past year with the new MLB National contracts kicked in doubling revenue for Every team from 25 to 50 million dollars. And yet the Mets after trading Ike lowered their payroll to 80 million dollars! Less than the Twins, Royals or Indians who play in much smaller markets. Why couldn’t Alderson have made a deal with the Dodgers for Kemp? Surely the Mets have in their farm system players comparable to what the Padres gave. The Dodgers ate 18 million for this coming season and 3 million more for each year remaining on his contract. There’s a saying. Buy cheap. Pay twice.

  • Eraff

    Pre Pat Gillick, I would caution my Phillies Fan Friends that the Phillies would make no moves (especially in-season) to react to a Pennant Race….Money Considerations.

    The sit and wait attitude (at SS, for instance) is OK if you can measure and address needs within the season–after all, the best measure of the team is to actually see the team play over a sustained time span.

    I now feel that the Mets, on the Cusp of a Race, won’t make a “later move” to address Opportunity.

  • James Preller

    In the land of delusion, there was an article yesterday about how the Nationals didn’t really become better by adding Scherzer. Or their rotation didn’t, since they’ll need to subtract an arm. So from that microcosm, there’s some truth. But when you step back: They added Scherzer!

    Didn’t have him; then had him!

    Now they get to trade, say, Zimmerman or whomever for whatever holes they want to fill.

    The Mets added two years of Cuddyer and the wrong John Mayberry to the talent pool. And somehow the idea of flushing the franchise is considered by some as “prudent.”

    That’s the struggle as Mets fans. When I look at the business side of things, it’s all so despairing and stupid. On other days, casting my gaze across the manicured green field, I look at the players and root. Winter is a hard time for Mets fans.

    • NormE

      James, you are correct.
      Once upon a time for many fans winter was a time for renewal. Nowadays the Wilpons have made it an extension of our despair.

    • Rob

      Bingo!!!

    • Eraff

      “Winter is a hard time for Mets fans.”

      Summer has been Tougher!!!!

  • Mr_Math

    Scooby Dooby Doo where is you? Yeah, the Nats picked up Scherzer, which was brilliant and actually well worth the mega bucks, even as Matt is finishing out the last year of that contract. Oh, and everybody’s favorite human, Harper, had a career – and best of his career – season, and won the MVP in 2015. And the Mets, as unimpressive as they are/can be, skated right past the Nats, eventually playing the Royals in the WS. And every single poster here, by which I mean every single poster here, which is often seen to mean every single poster here without fail, saw the Nats as the greatest thing since sliced bread, and the Mets as a piece of hard rancid moldy bread. That is, all but one person, whose Name I will not mention

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