max scherzer mets
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MLB’s Hot Stove season is officially upon us, and the rumor mill is buzzing with juicy tidbits. How much do current players know about what’s going on with free-agent teammates and other players around the game? It was humorous listening to Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman of the New York Post trying to get details out of Mets ace Max Scherzer on their podcast.

There was a range of topics touched upon during this conversation. Among them were the Mets’ courting of Scherzer last winter, thoughts on his first year in New York, and upcoming rule changes for the 2023 season. Another topic that was discussed at length included the current free-agent market.

Sherman mentioned Scherzer’s record salary of $43.3 million per season and asked whether that’s mostly an “older elite pitcher” formula, or if it’s something younger players in their prime will try going for. In asking the question, Sherman specifically mentioned Aaron Judge and Trea Turner. Here’s how Max answered:

That’s the beautiful thing about free agency…you get to decide wherever you want it to be. Everybody can answer that question however they want to answer it. But for me, the way I look at it is players, as a whole, help each other. Every time somebody can push the market higher, that helps out everybody else.

For me, the way I look at this is I want guys to continue to beat where I’m at on the market and continue to push everything higher because that helps out everybody. Rising tides help every single boat out there.

This was the perfect segue to ask about Jacob deGrom and his current status. Heyman claimed the right-hander is hard to read and asked Scherzer if deGrom actually likes it in New York. This is one of the answers that made me chuckle:

Of course he liked it in New York, we had a great team! Just think of the way things have gone. Everybody wants to try to find out where everybody is gonna go, every single second, what they’re thinking, what’s gonna go on. I get it, that’s part of the game, but I wouldn’t put so much stock into that. He’s going to make a decision that’s best for himself, we’ll support him no matter what he decides.

But for me, I loved pitching with him, it was great. I love pitching with great pitchers, that’s when you really get to learn more about yourself. That’s when you see other guys go out there and do things a little bit differently than the way you do it…he can flat-out take a game over. So, it was awesome to watch, awesome to play with, and hopefully we sign him.

And look, whether deGrom re-signs in New York or goes elsewhere doesn’t simply mean he didn’t like playing in Queens. There are other variables at play, and we don’t know exactly what Jake is thinking. However, it’s safe to assume that if he didn’t like playing in New York, deGrom wouldn’t have publicly said he did so many times:

Staying on the topic of veteran aces looking to get paid, the conversation moved on from deGrom to Justin Verlander. He’d be a fit on both New York squads, who’ve had an interest in employing him in the past. The righty is now a free agent, and rumors are flying that he’s intrigued by opportunities not in Houston with the Astros.

Heyman asked whether Scherzer had any feel for Verlander’s desire (or not) to be in New York. This answer made me chuckle yet again:

Yea, I have no idea. You’re asking me to speculate on people’s free agencies. I have no idea. I’m sitting here in Jupiter enjoying myself. I don’t even know what Jake’s going to do. I don’t know what Verlander’s going to do. I don’t know what other guys are going to do. I get we all want to play the game to where everybody’s going to sign and somehow I know where everyone is going to sign. Unfortunately, I don’t know where everybody’s going to sign. That’s what makes it fun, to watch where everybody falls and how teams stack up.

You have to love Max’s honesty, who is a prominent member of the Players’ Union. The last thing he’s going to do is speculate or divulge actual details about a fellow player who is currently a free agent. Discussing deGrom and Verlander on the podcast makes sense given their stature and connections to New York, but come on, man.

From what Scherzer said, he’ll be finding out where these guys are headed in a similar fashion to the way we will: from Jeff Passan, Ken Rosenthal, or one of the other big MLB news breakers.

Matt Musico can be reached at and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.