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Max Scherzer has big idea to address MLB umpire issues

Max Scherzer in uniform for the Rangers

Oct 4, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) is seen in the dugout during game two of the Wildcard series for the 2023 MLB playoffs against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

MLB umpires have received scrutiny this season over some inconsistent strike zones, and Texas Rangers pitcher Max Scherzer thinks he has a solution to the problem.

Scherzer began a rehab stint Wednesday at Triple-A Round Rock, a league that uses an automatic system to call balls and strikes. The former Cy Young winner said he was not a fan of the removal of the human element from the game, but does think the electronic strike zone could be used to implement his own plan to improve the standard of umpiring.

“We need to rank the umpires,” Scherzer said, via Shawn McFarland of The Dallas Morning News. “Let the electronic strike zone rank the umpires. We need to have a conversation about the bottom– let’s call it 10%, whatever you want to declare the bottom is — and talk about relegating those umpires to the minor leagues.”

Scherzer did say that the majority of umpires do good work, but that there needs to be some mechanism to hold the worst performers accountable.

Umpires would balk at any plan that could see any of them demoted, though players would argue that they face the same risks if they fail to perform. Plus, some of the called balls and strikes we have seen this season are essentially indefensible.

Scherzer has never been shy about offering ideas and feedback regarding league issues. This is one of his more controversial ones, but fans might like it.

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