With Max Scherzer, Mets Just Pulled A 2001 Diamondbacks
If you want to know the importance of what the Max Scherzer signing with the New York Mets is, look to the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks. That’s really the last time we saw this.
The Diamondbacks had added Curt Schilling at the 2000 trade deadline, but that team couldn’t stay in the race. That wouldn’t be an issue the following season.
Schilling combined with Randy Johnson to be one of the most lethal, if not the most lethal co-aces atop a rotation. The result was a 92 win season.
It’s difficult to argue they didn’t do it themselves. Schilling and Johnson both pitched over 249 innings and had an ERA under 3.00. The rest of the rotation struggled, and the bullpen wasn’t great aside from Byung-Hun Kim and Bret Prinz.
Offensively, that was one of the worst teams you could imagine for a World Series winner. Consider, Luis Gonzalez had a phenomenal year hitting 57 homers, and they still only had a team 97 wRC+.
That’s what having two of the best pitchers in all of baseball means. Their innings and greatness masks so much. Case-in-point, that team was 52-18 when Schilling and Johnson pitched, and they were 40-52 when they didn’t.
It was a feat replicated in the postseason. The Diamondbacks were 9-2 when they pitched, and they were 2-4 when they didn’t.
Good pitching beats good hitting. Great pitching wins World Series nearly single-handedly. That was the case in 2001, and it may be the case again in 2022.
With all due respect to Schilling and Johnson, if Jacob deGrom is healthy, deGrom and Scherzer are a more formidable duo.
Consider this. Schilling’s best ERA+ was 159, and his best FIP was 2.40. deGrom has bested that ERA+ three times and the FIP twice. Scherzer had a better ERA+ three times.
Johnson was on a different level than Schilling with a career best 197 ERA+ and 2.04 FIP. deGrom bettered than ERA+ and FIP once, and it would’ve been twice if he was healthy in 2021.
In addition to deGrom and Scherzer being the better duo, the 2022 Mets promise to be a better roster. This team is not done with their offseason, and they still have players like Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor, and Brandon Nimmo.
With deGrom and Scherzer, this Mets team is already a World Series contender. We need look no further than the 2001 Diamondbacks as proof of that. How great they will be will be determined by the rest of this offseason.