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#pounditWednesday, January 19, 2022

Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer thinks Dodgers misused him

Max Scherzer in a Dodgers uniform

Max Scherzer did not have the postseason he was hoping for, and he seems to feel like the Los Angeles Dodgers misused him.

The Los Angeles Dodgers lost in six games to the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS. The team ran out of pitching, largely due to their mismanagement of the pitching staff. They turned Julio Urias, the only 20-game winner in MLB, into a reliever. They had Walker Buehler pitching on short rest. And they had Scherzer both pitching out of the bullpen and on short rest. He ultimately was scratched from an elimination start due to a dead arm.

Changing up everyone’s roles backfired and left the Dodgers without enough quality pitchers to get the necessary outs against the Braves.

Scherzer, who was acquired along with Trea Turner from Washington at the trade deadline, did great in the regular season, going 7-0 with a 1.98 ERA with the Dodgers. However, he chose to sign with the New York Mets in free agency this offseason rather than return to Los Angeles.

The Mets’ financial offer was hard to pass up, but it could also be that Scherzer did not want to return to the Dodgers in part because of philosophical differences.

Scherzer said in an interview with SNY a few weeks ago that he spent time reflecting on the postseason to see what went wrong. He ultimately concluded that the Dodgers reducing his pitch counts towards the end of the regular season caused his body to get used to less of a workload. He believes that led his body to be uncooperative when a higher workload was needed in the postseason, resulting in his dead arm.

“In Washington, I was asked to pitch on the 5 day and pitch 100, 110 pitches consistently, and I loved it. I was built-up to throw a higher work capacity in D.C. So when I got asked to do that (by the Dodgers in 2021), I felt like my arm could respond to that. … (the Dodgers) made decisions to give extra days out and watch our pitch counts for the postseason.

“I just feel that lowered my work capacity so that when I tried to the 2019 formula of being able to pitch out of the pen, my arm was not able to respond to that, because I came out of the lower pitch count.”

Scherzer even described himself as “compromised” when trying to pitch extra in the postseason.

Let this be a lesson to teams that are so concerned about preserving players, keeping them in bubble wrap, and avoiding harm, that sometimes it’s best to just let the athletes do their thing and not overmanage or place too many limitations. This is yet another example of how “load management” can have negative effects.

Photo: Aug 10, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) walks towards the dugout against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Mets reportedly make Max Scherzer highest-paid MLB player by far

Max Scherzer in a Dodgers uniform

The New York Mets have landed one of the biggest free agents on the market, and they did so by making him the highest-paid player in Major League Baseball.

The Mets are finalizing a contract with pitcher Max Scherzer, as SNY’s Andy Martino first reported. According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network and others, the deal is worth $130 million over three seasons.

That means the Mets will be paying Scherzer $43 million per year, which is more than any other player in baseball from an average annual value standpoint. Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom is set to earn $36 million in 2022, which was previously tied with New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole for the highest pitcher’s salary.

Scherzer’s deal will also have a significantly higher AAV than Mike Trout’s. The slugger will make $37 million with the Los Angeles Angels next season.

Scherzer pitched at a Cy Young level last season and was said to be seeking a four-year deal. Considering he is 37, it would make sense if the Mets preferred to give him a higher salary over three years rather than adding an additional year onto the deal.

Though he had some issues with arm fatigue in the playoffs, Scherzer went 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA last season. He was 7-0 with a 1.98 ERA after being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Mets have already signed several other big-name free agents. They should be a clear World Series contender after pairing Scherzer with deGrom at the top of their rotation.

Photo: Aug 10, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) walks towards the dugout against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer close to signing with Mets

Max Scherzer in a Dodgers uniform

The New York Mets may be poised to land one of the biggest free agents on the market.

Reports throughout Sunday evening suggested the Mets were swooping in on the Max Scherzer sweepstakes. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi took things further by saying the Mets were close to finalizing a multi-year deal for the ace.

Scherzer pitched at a Cy Young level last season and is still an extremely valuable weapon. But at 37, teams likely are reluctant to give him too long-term of a deal.

If needed, the Mets could reportedly give Scherzer a four-year deal to secure his services.

Scherzer went 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA last season. He was 7-0 with a 1.98 ERA after being traded to the Dodgers. He is still very much a coveted asset.

If the Mets add Scherzer, that would give them a stout free agent class that also includes Starling Marte, Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar.

Photo: Aug 10, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) walks towards the dugout against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Mets targeting 3 big names in free agency

Max Scherzer in a Dodgers uniform

The New York Mets have already been one of the busiest teams in free agency, and if they have their way, their biggest addition is yet to come.

The Mets are eyeing the top starting pitchers on the market, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. That includes reigning AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray, and it even includes Max Scherzer.

Scherzer is the headliner here, and would be a massive addition. There are clear questions about whether he’d be interested, however. At this stage in his career, he will be prioritizing winning, and the Mets did not make the playoffs last season. Plus, Scherzer’s preference for a West Coast team was a factor at the trade deadline, and the Mets certainly cannot offer that. There are certainly some other clubs that can that might be interested.

The Mets have already significantly bolstered their offense. Maybe that will help them attract top-tier pitching like Scherzer.

Photo: Aug 10, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) walks towards the dugout against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Dave Roberts makes surprising admission about Max Scherzer injury

Dave Roberts in Dodgers gear

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is having to try to come back in the NLCS without a healthy Max Scherzer. In retrospect, he’s confident the difficult spot he’s in was preventable.

Roberts said Saturday that the decision to use Scherzer to close out the NLDS against San Francisco has contributed to the muscle soreness the pitcher is battling. Roberts admitted that he didn’t think having Scherzer pick up that inning would lead to any long-term issues like this.

Roberts doesn’t really sound like he regrets his decision. Obviously, Scherzer was going to want to pitch. Roberts would have vetoed it if he really thought it would cause serious problems.

Scherzer has said his current issue isn’t a “true injury” and he is preparing to start a potential Game 7. The Dodgers just have to get there first.

Max Scherzer clarifies nature of arm issue

Max Scherzer in a Dodgers uniform

Max Scherzer’s arm issue will prevent him from pitching on Saturday as the Los Angeles Dodgers look to avoid elimination in the NLCS. Now he is clarifying what exactly he is dealing with right now.

The Dodgers righty addressed the condition of his arm prior to Game 6 against the Atlanta Braves.

“My arm has been locked up the past couple days,” said Scherzer, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. “I got to day four [after the start] and it felt like day one.

“This isn’t a true injury,” Scherzer added. “It’s just muscle fatigue.”

Scherzer also said that he felt as if he turned a corner on Saturday and that he could start in a Game 7.

The 37-year-old Scherzer pitched in Game 2 of the NLCS series last Sunday, lasting just 4.1 innings in a 5-4 Dodgers defeat. Afterwards, Scherzer made some concerning comments about his arm. He had pitched in relief to close out the team’s NLDS series against San Francisco three days prior to that.

The Dodgers will instead turn to Walker Buehler on short rest to start Game 6 as they trail in the series 3-2. While it is unclear how much a single extra day of rest will benefit Scherzer at this point, he seems to be trending in the right direction for a Game 7 if the Dodgers can get there.

Aug 10, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) walks towards the dugout against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer scratched from Game 6 start amid dead arm

Max Scherzer in a Dodgers uniform

The Los Angeles Dodgers will not have their ace on the hill for Game 6 of the NLCS on Saturday.

Max Scherzer has been scratched from his planned start against the Atlanta Braves. Scherzer, as is customary for the upcoming game’s starting pitcher, was supposed to address the media on Friday night after the Dodgers arrived in Atlanta. However, the media session was canceled because Scherzer is not starting.

Scherzer, who was acquired by the Dodgers at the trade deadline, went 7-0 in the regular season with his new team. He pitched in the Wild Card Game against the Cardinals, Game 3 of the NLCS against the Giants, and again in Game 5 when he got his first career save.

On Sunday, Scherzer pitched for the fourth time in 12 days and allowed two runs over 4.1 innings in Game 2 against the Braves. He admitted afterwards that he was dealing with a dead arm.

Apparently Scherzer’s fatigue is still an issue, which led to the change.

The Dodgers are slim on options. Walker Buehler pitched in Game 3 on Tuesday. Julio Urias pitched in Game 4 on Wednesday. They went with the bullpen in Game 5. They may have to ask for another heavy game from their bullpen in Game 6.

The Braves lead the series 3-2 and are a win away from the World Series. The Dodgers need to win the next two games to advance.

Max Scherzer has troubling admission about his arm

Max Scherzer Dodgers

Max Scherzer was not sharp in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ loss to the Atlanta Braves in Game 2 of the NLCS on Sunday night, and the right-hander raised some concerns with his explanation for the subpar performance.

Scherzer allowed four hits and two earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. The outing wasn’t terrible, but it certainly wasn’t his best effort. After L.A. lost 5-4, Scherzer told reporters he is dealing with dead arm.

Scherzer said his arm usually loosens up after about 45 pitches, but that did not happen for him on Sunday. The 37-year-old insists he has no concerns about pitching later in the series, however.

It’s no surprise that Scherzer’s arm is feeling fatigued. He threw seven innings in a 1-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants in Game 3 of the NLDS last Monday. He then pitched an inning and got the save in Game 5 just three days later before making his Game 2 NLCS start on two days rest.

Scherzer was openly upset when Dave Roberts pulled him from a game earlier in the postseason (video here), but perhaps the Dodgers manager was onto something. The Dodgers now have to hope they give Scherzer a chance to pitch again after dropping the first two games of the NLCS.

Watch: Max Scherzer celebrates with Juan Soto, Kevin Long after Dodgers win

Max Scherzer Juan Soto

Max Scherzer was frustrated after being lifted from his start early in the NL Wild Card Game on Wednesday. But he was much happier after his Los Angeles Dodgers won 3-1 over the St. Louis Cardinals on a walk-off home run by Chris Taylor (watch here).

TBS’ cameras shared a cool moment on TV of Scherzer going over to high-five Juan Soto and Kevin Long after the game. He also was seen blowing a kiss, likely to his wife, who was sitting near Soto and Long.

That was cool. Soto is a star outfielder for the Washington Nationals, while Long is their hitting coach. Soto, Long, Scherzer and Trea Turner all won the World Series on the Nats in 2019. But Scherzer and Turner were traded over the summer to the Dodgers, who are now looking to win a World Series in LA.

That didn’t stop Soto and Long from supporting their ex-teammates.

“It just means the world,” Scherzer told TBS regarding Soto and Long’s presence. “For them to be here in this moment that was awesome.”

Soto was wearing a Turner Nationals jersey, while Long was wearing a Scherzer Nationals jersey. They still have love for their former players.

Watch: Max Scherzer was ticked Dave Roberts pulled him from Wild Card Game

Max Scherzer Dave Roberts

Max Scherzer was not happy at all about being removed from Wednesday night’s NL Wild Card Game.

Scherzer was the starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the St. Louis Cardinals and allowed a run in the first on a wild pitch. He got through the next three innings without allowing a run, but he got into some trouble in the fifth.

Scherzer allowed a leadoff single to Tommy Edman and then walked Paul Goldschmidt. He struck out Tyler O’Neill and then was lifted by manager Dave Roberts.

Scherzer was upset about being removed and wouldn’t give the ball to Roberts.

He then had words with the manager in the dugout.

Luckily for the Dodgers, the change worked out. Joe Kelly entered and got Nolan Arenado to ground into a fielder’s choice. Then he struck out Dylan Carlson to end the threat.

Scherzer had thrown 94 pitches through that point in the game. He probably wasn’t going to last much longer, but he likely wanted to finish the inning, especially considering Arenado was 0-for-2 against Scherzer.

Scherzer and Roberts have only had a working relationship for two months. Mad Max quickly had to let Roberts know about his style.