With a lockout looming at the beginning of December, several top MLB free agents prioritized signing before all business came to a halt. For Max Scherzer, that amounted to inking a record-setting three-year, $130 million contract with the New York Mets.
The future Hall of Famer did not have a shortage of suitors as the Los Angeles Dodgers, L.A. Angels, San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals were among the other teams connected to him in recent weeks.
While the Dodgers were considered an early favorite to re-sign Scherzer, they reportedly refused to guarantee him a third year. That may be due in part to the right-hander’s age, but also limitations brought on by the uncertainty with Trevor Bauer.
The Angels also appeared to be a natural fit for Scherzer as they have been aggressively trying to upgrade their starting rotation. According to Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times, the Angels were in stronger position to sign the three-time Cy Young Award winner than the Dodgers:
Ultimately, the Angels, desperate for more starting pitching, were closer to landing Scherzer than the Dodgers, according to a person with knowledge of the situation
In addition to their need for starting pitching, the Angels — and all California teams — were thought to have an edge to sign Scherzer due to his previous preference of being on the West Coast.
However, that wound up giving them a disadvantage as Scherzer has since clarified he actually preferred joining an East Coast club so he could be closer to his family in Florida for Spring Training.
While the Angels missed out on signing Scherzer, they previously addressed their rotation by signing Noah Syndergaard and Michael Lorenzen to one-year contracts. The club also has engaged the Cincinnati Reds in trade talks for one of their rumored available starters.
As for the Dodgers, their only addition to the rotation thus far has been Andrew Heaney. Clayton Kershaw remains a free agent and very well could return to the organization, but he is expected to take more of a deliberate approach in choosing his next team.
Scherzer: Dodgers reducing workload led to dead arm in postseason
During his introductory press conference with the Mets, Scherzer reflected on his brief time in L.A. and expressed a belief the Dodgers’ efforts of reducing his workload led to the arm fatigue that prevented him from making a scheduled start in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series.
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