While it's understandable that Nationals fans may feel bitterness and heartbroken to see Max Scherzer sign with the New York Mets, Ryan Zimmerman hopes they can focus instead on how much Scherzer accomplished while playing for Washington.
Besides, there's a good chance that when Cooperstown comes calling, Scherzer will go into the Baseball Hall of Fame donning a Nationals cap.
"I mean, I say this all the time, but it makes me feel so lucky that I've never had to go through those situations," Zimmerman said during his weekly appearance with The Sports Junkies, presented by MainStreet Bank. "You know, it's so rare for someone to play for one team. And I hope the fans understand that it is a business."
Scherzer inked a record deal with the Mets, agreeing to a three-year, $130 million contract that carries an average annual value of $43.33 million, shattering the previous high of $36 million in AAV set by Gerrit Cole. Beyond being a personal financial windfall, it's likely that Scherzer, a union rep as the players are heading into labor negotiations with MLB owners, felt a strong sense of purpose to secure every last dollar. Even if that meant signing with the Mets.
"I think — I'm not gonna say what Max is gonna do — but I think when he goes into the Hall of Fame, there's a really good chance that he's gonna wear a Nats hat," Zimmerman said. "I think a significant and a huge part of his career was spent here, and I hope people focus more on that than him going to the Mets."
Even if Scherzer continues his dominance with the Mets, it seems improbable that anything he does in the next three seasons could eclipse the seven best seasons of his career spent with Washington. Scherzer's accomplishments with the Nats include throwing two no-hitters, a 20-strikeout game, and winning consecutive Cy Young Awards (2016-17). Most importantly, he delivered on his promise upon signing with Washington to win a World Series, achieving that lifelong dream in 2019.
Scherzer's other career stops include two seasons with Arizona, where he was drafted in 2006 (when current Nats GM Mike Rizzo was in the Diamondbacks' front office), five seasons in Detroit, where he won his first of three career Cy Youngs, and then his stint as a rental in Los Angeles in the second half of last season.
"I mean, every single person that's pissed would take $43 million and go to the Mets too, so they can shove it," Zimmerman said through laughter. "But I mean, I get it. But it's just, in the back end of a lot of guys' careers, they don't have sort of the... I mean, could he have come back here? Yes, of course.
"But this is a business from both ends and Max, I hope they focus on how much he did while he was here and what he did every fifth day while he was here. Because that's what the fans should remember about him, not that he's gonna go and play for the Mets. I mean, he played for the Dodgers. You know, it's not like it's like some crazy thing. It happens. So I hope people will remember him here and what he did for this city."