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Max Scherzer spills the beans on Mets’ plans for 2024

Max Scherzer ready to pitch

May 13, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Max Scherzer (21) pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer spilled the beans Monday on the New York Mets’ plans for 2024.

Scherzer had signed a 3-year, $130 million contract with the Mets over the offseason. The Mets added Scherzer with the expectation that they would be contending for the World Series this season, but those plans did not pan out.

Instead, the Mets underperformed and were 50-55 entering Tuesday’s trade deadline. They recognized how far from contending they were and sold off many of their desirable players. That included Scherzer, who needed to some convincing in order to waive his no-trade clause.

Scherzer told the media on Tuesday that both Mets GM Billy Eppler and team owner Steve Cohen informed the pitcher that the Mets’ plans had changed. Rather than try to sign players over the offseason with the intent of pursuing the World Series in 2024, Scherzer was told the Mets plan to rebuild and aim to contend in 2025 or 2026.

“I talked to Billy,” Scherzer told The Athletic, recalling his conversation with Eppler. “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.’”

The conversations with Eppler and Cohen convinced Scherzer to waive his no-trade clause. The veteran pitcher was dealt to the Texas Rangers on Saturday. Since then, Justin Verlander, Tommy Pham, Mark Canha and Dominic Leone have all been traded by the Mets. The Mets also traded Eduardo Escobar and David Robertson ahead of the deadline.

Whether or not team owner Cohen changes his mind over the offseason remains to be seen. But for now, after acquiring several prospects at the deadline, it sure seems like the Mets are targeting 2025/2026 to contend in the NL East. That is a disappointing outcome for Mets fans who were pumped about the big offseason the team enjoyed.

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