The Mets began a three-game series with the Texas Rangers on Monday. Since the beginning of December, this date was supposed to be Jacob deGrom’s return to Citi Field. But he’s not traveling with the team as he’s recovering from Tommy John surgery. Instead, it was Max Scherzer’s return.
Despite being with New York for just a season and a half, the Mets put together a tribute video for the right-hander. The Citi Field crowd was not having one bit of it:
Fans are booing Max Scherzer’s tribute video at Citi Field pic.twitter.com/aZeEG80SPh
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) August 28, 2023
Feelings are still raw from New York’s trade-deadline sell-off, which really went into overdrive once Scherzer was traded to Texas in exchange for Luisangel Acuña. Then, there were Max’s comments about his conversations with general manager Billy Eppler and team owner Steve Cohen before he waived his no-trade clause:
I talked to Billy,” Scherzer told The Athletic. “I was like, ‘OK, are we reloading for 2024?’ He goes, ‘No, we’re not. Basically our vision now is for 2025-2026, ‘25 at the earliest, more like ‘26. We’re going to be making trades around that.’
“I was like, ‘So the team is not going to be pursuing free agents this offseason or assemble a team that can compete for a World Series next year?’ He said, ‘No, we’re not going to be signing the upper-echelon guys. We’re going to be on the smaller deals within free agency. ‘24 is now looking to be more of a kind of transitory year.’”
Scherzer spent some time with the New York media before Monday’s series opener, and he said all the right things. Of the comments he made, I thought this one was the most important:
Max Scherzer talks about his relationship with Justin Verlander and says the Mets had a "great clubhouse" when he was in New York:
"That's definitely not the reason why we lost. We were a tight-knit group, had a lot of fun together." pic.twitter.com/j8QSVONa7l
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 28, 2023
Throughout his media session, he sounded like a dude who genuinely loved being a Met and wished things didn’t end up how they did. Unfortunately, a big part of his Mets legacy will be him not pitching well in his last 2022 regular-season start against the Braves and then imploding in the postseason against the Padres.
Oh, yeah — and also not getting into any kind of significant groove in 2023 before getting dealt. But the fact of the matter is that without Scherzer in 2022, there’s no way the Mets win 101 games.
DeGrom didn’t make his season debut until August, and while Scherzer dealt with a couple of trips to the injured list himself, he stabilized the top of the rotation. In 145.1 innings, he went 11-5 with a 2.29 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP, and 173 strikeouts.
But when you don’t perform during the most important time of the year, that’s what people will remember most. Just ask Carlos Beltran.
I’m not surprised the Mets made a tribute video for Scherzer. He was an important part of the club during his short tenure in Queens. And, it’s not every day a pitcher destined for the Hall of Fame dons the orange and blue. Was it necessary, though? No, not at all. That’s why I’m also not surprised it was met with the kind of resistance we saw on Monday night at Citi Field.