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Why Max Scherzer Chose The Mets In Free Agency

Find out why Max Scherzer ultimately chose the Mets in free agency.

While the historic three-year, $130 million contract and record $43.33 million AAV certainly played a substantial role in the Mets being able to land ace pitcher and three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, it wasn't all about the money.

For starters, Scherzer was blown away following a zoom call with Mets owner Steve Cohen, who told him they were going to do "whatever it takes to win."

According to Scherzer, who was introduced by the Mets during a virtual 45 minute press conference on Wednesday, Cohen's words are not commonly echoed by other owners around the league.

"To see Steve show the fortitude to go past [the luxury tax] and do whatever it takes to need an owner behind you to put together a winning team," said Scherzer.

At the start of today's presser, Cohen called Scherzer one of the greatest pitchers of this and any generation. He also credited general manager Billy Eppler for hitting the ground running in his first two weeks on the job.

Eppler, who was also present on zoom, revealed that Scherzer was at the top of their wishlist in free agency as well.

Beyond Cohen's commitment to competing for a championship, Scherzer wanted to pitch with fellow multi-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, who he remained in contact with throughout the process.

"Pitching with Jake, that's obvious," said Scherzer. "And then, going against those guys, they have a pretty good lineup as well."

Scherzer's former teammate and ex-Met, Brian Dozier also encouraged the right-hander to come to Queens. Dozier is close with Scherzer, and is very good friends with another new Met in Eduardo Escobar. 

"I don't even know [Escobar], but if you're cool by Dozier, you're cool by me," said Scherzer.

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But the cherry on top was that the 37-year-old's home is located in Jupiter, Fla., which is 30 minutes away from the Mets' spring training facility in Port St. Lucie. This will allow Scherzer to see his family frequently during camp and while playing a schedule within the NL East.

"At this point in my career, you put all those things together, that's when I said I was going to be a New York Met," said Scherzer.

For years, Scherzer was used to pitching for the Washington Nationals or Los Angeles Dodgers as a visitor at Citi Field and dealing with a sometimes hostile and always passionate crowd. Fortunately, Scherzer is glad to now have the fanbase on his side moving forward.

"The Mets fans have a nice, blue-collar approach," he said. "They really let you have it. It'll be nice to flip the script this time and have them cheering for me."

Mets fan will now get to cheer for two fantastic pitchers, Scherzer and deGrom, who have captured four of the last six Cy Young Awards in the National League. Not to mention, the Mets now have two of the best hurlers in baseball over the course of the past decade.

In the end, Scherzer came to the Mets because he welcomes high-pressure situations. He saw the team sign Escobar, Starling Marte and Mark Canha who all have reputations for being great clubhouse guys, and the righty wanted to help change the culture too.

"In my time, and in my career, clubhouses can change," he added. "It only takes a few guys to change it. I've seen it happen many times. I've seen it from guys I've played with over the years, they bring a certain energy and it can change the whole vibe of the clubhouse.

"For me, I feel like the guys we are bringing in can do that. It's not just myself and other guys, but the guys that have been brought in, in the previous year. The culture can change. It's a challenge but a challenge you're willing to meet."

A week ago, the perception around the industry was that no one wanted to come to the Mets after Steven Matz used Cohen's wallet to leverage a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals.

But the tables have turned rather quickly, and now, the Mets' big splash moves in free agency have made them a very attractive destination for available players.

"Whoever had that [initial] thought," Cohen said, acknowledging the recent shift in narrative. "I guess they were wrong."