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How Max Scherzer Is Preparing For 1st Season With Mets

Find out how Max Scherzer is preparing for his first season with the Mets.

Although things have gotten ugly between MLB and MLBPA, regarding their negotiations for a new CBA, players have no choice but to continue to prepare for the 2022 season on their own until they receive the green light to report to spring training.

And Mets star pitcher Max Scherzer is not excluded from this group. Scherzer, who is an executive subcommittee member for MLBPA, has been involved in talks with league owners. But unfortunately, minimal progress has been made, which means the scheduled date for pitchers and catchers to arrive at camp on Feb. 16,  is now in serious jeopardy.

Regardless, Scherzer is taking the lessons he learned from the beginning of the pandemic, when MLB and MLBPA were clashing over the terms of a shortened season. Whenever the lockout ends, Scherzer plans on showing up to spring training ready to go, as he did nearly two years ago when the season got moved back to late-July. 

"Yeah, I’m just going to go. I’m just going to build my arm up. I don’t know to what capacity. I don’t know how long the lockout’s going to go," Scherzer told Tim Britton of The Athletic. "But if COVID showed us anything, it showed us that you have just as much danger not pitching as pitching. I’d rather just get out there and build my arm up and be ready at any point in time, so that way whenever the lockout does end, it’s much easier to transition to spring training at that point.

"I don’t want to sit idle and do nothing until we end the lockout. I feel like then that would be trying to ramp up too quick. It’s easier on your body if you’re already at a high level of pitching. My body is used to pitching for eight months when you factor in the postseason. My routines and everything, I’m used to pitching eight months."

While a regular spring training typically lasts around six weeks, players normally require about a month to ramp up for the regular season. The start of spring training is destined to be delayed to some degree, but the two sides still have three weeks to reach an agreement before the 2022 campaign is in danger of getting pushed back. 

"What 2020 showed us, when we’re only pitching three or four months, that’s not always a good thing," Scherzer told The Athletic. "That rest wasn’t necessarily good for everybody. There could be a lot of dangers because of that. For me, looking at this lockout, it is what it is. From a training standpoint, I’m ramping up to go no matter what."

Scherzer was unable to make his scheduled start for the Dodgers during Game 6 of the 2021 NLCS due to a dead arm. However, he believes this was a result of his new team giving him an extra day of rest between his outings down the stretch. 

Scherzer, 37, tossed just 67.1 innings during the shortened 2020 season, and then came back to throw 195.3 last year (including the postseason). But Scherzer does not believe that this jump had too much of an impact on him since his arm has been built up from pitching over a long period of time. 

"Yeah. I didn’t have risk factors telling me that going back to 200 or 220 innings was going to be a major risk factor for myself, because I had built my body up over the years," Scherzer said. "A one-year anomaly was going to mean less to me than a younger arm."

That's why Scherzer expects to exceed the 200-inning mark this year, which is something he was able to do for nine straight seasons from 2011 to 2019. 

This is a good sign for the Mets, who are counting on Scherzer and Jacob deGrom to be their work horses at the top of the rotation in 2022. But deGrom dealt with injuries of his own last season, which saw his historic campaign end prematurely on July 7 as a result of a UCL sprain/partial tear of his right elbow. 

Beyond Scherzer and deGrom, veteran righties Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker are slated behind them in the rotation. The No. 5 spot is currently projected to be a competition between Tylor Megill and David Peterson. But the Mets are expected to add another big-league starting pitcher after the lockout is over. 

The Mets could possibly look to sign a free agent starter such as Carlos Rodón or Yusei Kikuchi, or explore the trade market for hurlers that could be made available, including Luis Castillo, Chris Bassitt, Sean Manaea or Frankie Montas.