Steve Cohen told reporters at Wednesday’s press conference that Max Scherzer was at the top of the team’s wish list this offseason, and general manager Billy Eppler echoed that sentiment in an interview with Carton and Roberts on Wednesday.
Even after missing out on Noah Syndergaard, Kevin Gausman and Steven Matz, New York still had its big fish available, and locked up Scherzer with a record-breaking three-year deal.
“This was a pretty easy conversation from the moment I signed on and sat with Sandy and Steve and said if we wanted to make an impact, it starts here,” Eppler said. “We talked to a number of guys and some we signed and some we didn’t, but we never lost sight of Max.
“We were talking to a number of guys at the same time, and always stayed in touch with Max. We never played an either/or game. Like I said, we never lost sight of Max.”
Scherzer’s AAV of $43.3 million is by far an MLB record, but even that paycheck coupled with the signings of Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha won’t stop Eppler and the Mets from continuing to make moves this winter.
“We can be opportunistic,” Eppler said. “We still have some rom here to do that…that kind of shows that Steve and Alex’s commitment to putting a great team on the field and giving us the resources, which I’m still thankful for.
“You could always look to improve a roster. This positon player group is a pretty strong group top to bottom…there’s contact, there’s on-base, there’s power…this is a club that is built to cover this 162-game season that we have to endure.”
While Eppler is still open-minded to improving the roster even more, at the top of the list is hiring a manager, a search that Eppler says is imminent now that multiple upgrades have been made on the players side.
“I’ll probably start calling on permissions as early as tomorrow if they’re with other clubs,” Eppler said.
Eppler said it won’t be a requirement for the manager to have previous experience in the role, nor will he rush to find a candidate. The team will instead wait for the right hire, regardless of how long it takes.
“Not putting a shot clock on it,” Eppler said. “I don’t know. When we’re ready, we’re ready.”
Listen to Eppler's full interview with Carton and Roberts below!
Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1