While many teams across the league have set a precedent on staying below the competitive balance tax and avoiding luxury tax penalties, Mets owner Steve Cohen stayed true to his promise of breaking out the checkbook with a sole focus on putting together a winner.
That was a major driving force of getting a bonafide star in Max Scherzer to sign a record three-year deal with New York.
“That’s a specific thing that we’re negotiating on right now, and how teams view that as a cap and don’t spend too much over that, despite the penalties on that actually being negligible comparatively,” Scherzer said at his introductory press conference on Wednesday. “To see Steve have the fortitude to go past that, he’s gonna do whatever it takes to win. That’s music to my ears.
“I’m still here to win, and you need an owner behind you as much as anybody on the team as well to be able to go out there and put together a winning team. That’s the culture right now here in new York, and that’s why I’m where I’m at.”
Scherzer, a 2019 World Series champion with the Nationals, knows what a winning team looks like, and as he enters the latter stages of his career at 37 years old, his quest to get back to the top of the baseball world remains the same.
“That’s the goal. That would be the ultimate dream here, to go down and win the whole thing,” Scherzer said. “It takes an unbelievable effort of everybody playing well and being healthy at the same time…but given that, it’s gonna start for me here real soon.”
With the additions of Scherzer, Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha, expectations will be higher than ever for the Mets to finally get back to the postseason and make a deep run. New York always carries a burden of expectation, and Scherzer is ready to embrace that.
“The pressure of this is a privilege, not a problem,” Scherzer said. “I really enjoy being somewhere where you’re expected to win.”
The expectation to win for the Mets comes from the top, with Cohen flexing his financial might to significantly reboot a roster that underperformed in 2021. It was that determination that sold Scherzer on coming to Queens.
“Steve said ‘whatever it takes to win here.’…you don’t hear that from owners too much these days,” Scherzer said. “When you finally hear an owner say he wants to do what it takes to win, that obviously piqued my interest.”
Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1