After finishing up a seven-year, $210 million contract, right-hander Max Scherzer is a free agent again. The ace hurler has been a Major Leaguer for 14 seasons and is a three-time Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All-Star. Heading into his age-37 season, he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
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Here’s what you need to know about Scherzer:
Birthdate: July 27, 1984 (Age 37 in 2022)
Primary position: RHP
Height/weight: 6-foot-3, 208 lbs.
Place of birth: St. Louis, Mo.
School(s): Parkway Central (Mo.) HS, University of Missouri
Drafted: 1st round (11th), 2006, by D-backs
MLB debut: April 29, 2008
Qualifying offer: Not eligible to receive one
2021: 15-4, 2.46 ERA (166 ERA+), 236 K, 5.3 WAR* in 179 1/3 IP
Career: 190-97, 3.16 ERA (134 ERA+), 3,020 K, 67.2 WAR in 2,536 2/3 IP
STAT TO KNOW
Scherzer’s 2.46 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in 2021 were the lowest of his 14-year career, and his 28.9 K-BB% (strikeout rate minus walk rate) was his second highest after 2019 (30.3%).
Scherzer’s age hasn’t proved to be a detriment yet, but it’s by far the biggest red flag for free-agent suitors. If Mad Max signs a three-year deal, he’d be 40 by the time it expires.
He’s in rare company with 3 Cys
Scherzer won the American League Cy Young Award with the Tigers in 2013, then earned National League Cy Young honors in back-to-back years (‘16, ‘17) with the Nats. The list of pitchers with at least three Cy Young Awards isn’t long. It includes Hall of Famers Randy Johnson, Steve Carlton, Greg Maddux, Sandy Koufax, Pedro Martinez, Jim Palmer and Tom Seaver, plus Roger Clemens and Clayton Kershaw in addition to Scherzer.
Scherzer is also one of six pitchers to win a Cy Young Award in both leagues, joining Clemens, Johnson, Martinez, Gaylord Perry and Roy Halladay.
The ace right-hander came close to earning his fourth Cy Young in 2021, finishing third behind Corbin Burnes and Zack Wheeler. It was the eighth time Scherzer placed fifth or better in his league’s voting.
He joined the 3,000-strikeout club in 2021
One of the top strikeout artists of his generation, Scherzer tallied the 3,000th K of his career when he fanned Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer in the fifth inning at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 12. With that, he became the 19th pitcher to join the 3,000-strikeout club.
Scherzer made additional history in the same game, striking out the side on nine pitches in the top of the second to become the third pitcher on record after Koufax and Chris Sale to toss as many as three immaculate innings.
His first 9 starts with the Dodgers were historic
Traded to the Dodgers with shortstop Trea Turner on July 30, Scherzer made an immediate impact for Los Angeles. The Dodgers didn’t lose a single regular-season game he started, and he allowed just five earned runs over 58 innings in his first nine starts with the club. Scherzer’s 0.78 ERA in that span was the lowest for any pitcher in his first nine starts with a team (since 1913, when earned runs became official), topping the 0.79 ERA posted by Dana Fillingim over his first nine starts with the Boston Braves in 1918.
Best free-agent signing ever?
He’s certainly up there. MLB.com’s Mike Petriello attempted to quantify the best free-agent deals ever by creating a points system based on individual and team performance during the contract, and Scherzer landed third on the list after Johnson and Maddux.