With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…
• Published reports say that the New York Mets have signed veteran pitcher Max Scherzer, a three-time winner of the Cy Young Award, to a three-year contract paying him $43.3 million a season - a record deal that shatters the per-season record set when the New York Yankees signed pitcher Gerrit Cole to a nine-year, $324 million contract.
The deal is contingent on the 37-year-old Scherzer passing a physical.
The New York Times notes that "despite his age, Scherzer has maintained not only his mid-90s velocity but also his performance. With the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2021 season, he went 15-4 with a 2.46 earned run average and 236 strikeouts over 179 ⅓ innings. In September, he became the 19th person to reach 3,000 career strikeouts … Scherzer is already considered a likely Hall of Famer."
Scherzer joins a staff that already includes two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom.
The Mets' 2022 payroll, underwritten by billionaire owner Steven A. Cohen, already has reached a franchise record $266 million, which the Times points out is "the highest in Major League Baseball at the moment and far past the existing $210 million luxury tax threshold."
However, as the Times also reports, the signing comes at a fraught moment in management-labor relations in Major League Baseball: "Scherzer’s agreement was the latest in a flurry of activity around the sport before the collective bargaining agreement between the owners of the 30 M.L.B. clubs and players expires at midnight Eastern time on Dec. 1. Both sides have publicly expressed some tepid optimism that a deal will be reached by then. But given the many negotiating hurdles and fraught labor relations between M.L.B. and the players’ union, a lockout might be coming.
"Baseball has not had a work stoppage since the strike that prematurely ended the 1994 season, canceled that year’s World Series and bled into the next season. But if no agreement is reached, M.L.B.’s owners could enact a lockout to freeze transactions."
I find the labor stuff to be a little tiresome - billionaires fighting with millionaires. (I generally root for the underdogs - the people on the front lines - in such battles. But if these people cannot find their way to some sort of agreement that puts the fans first - after all, baseball is our sport - they're all fools.
But … the Scherzer signing gives Mets fans hope for the 2022 season, and suggests that the Wilpon era now is well behind us. It is particularly welcome here at MNB - Michael Sansolo, Tom Furphy and I all are Mets fans.
• And, in Monday Night Football action, Washington defeated the Seattle Seahawks 17-15.