Texas About To Find Out If Max Scherzer Was Worth It
From a New York Mets perspective, signing Max Scherzer was a good move for the organization. He was a very good pitcher and team leader for a team that won 101 games. He was not as good in 2023, but the Mets were able to trade him to the Texas Rangers for top prospect Luisangel Acuña.
The positive impact of Scherzer is going to hopefully last for many seasons to come. When you sign a free agent, especially an ace to a lucrative contract, that is always the goal. Of course, this is not how the Mets originally intended it to work, but it worked nevertheless.
For the Texas Rangers, the value of Scherzer is solely wrapped up in his ability to get them the first World Series in team history. So far, Scherzer hasn’t delivered on that promise, and it has been for the same reasons that marred part of his Mets career.
Scherzer was good enough in the regular season for the Rangers. Over eight starts, he was 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA (140 ERA+), but he would go on the IL with a strain of his right teres major muscle. That kept him out of the Wild Card Series and ALDS.
Scherzer returned for Game 3 of the ALCS. The Rangers took the first two on the road, and Scherzer was on the mound with a chance to effectively end the series. Instead, Scherzer let the Houston Astros back into the series,
He allowed five earned over four innings. He did get through the first unscathed, but he loaded the bases in the second. He’d throw a wild pitch and then allow a two run RBI single to Martin Maldonado (a 66 OPS+ hitter). He then allowed runs in each of the subsequent two innings before having to be removed from the game after just 63 pitches.
This wasn’t as bad as his NL Wild Card Series start for the Mets where he allowed seven runs over 4.2 innings, but it was bad. Truth be told, for as great as Scherzer is, he has not really been a big time postseason starter.
That said, he has had some big time starts. If he was one in Game 7, the Rangers win the pennant. If not, Rangers fans are left where Mets fans were in 2023 wondering if the future Hall of Fame ace cost them their chance of winning a World Series.
For the Rangers organization, the wisdom of trading Acuña for Scherzer will forever be judged by this moment. If he wins, the Rangers won the trade (that is not to say the Mets lost). If he loses, then, the trade may forever be known as folly. There is a less interesting gray zone.
In the end, this isn’t the biggest start of Scherzer’s career. However, it just might be the last big start of his storied career. With that, this start means everything for him. Perhaps, it means more for the entire Rangers organization.