The three-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to waive his no-trade clause to push the deal through. The Mets get back minor-league middle infielder Luisangel Acuna, who is the 21-year-old brother of Braves superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. and one of the Rangers’ top prospects.
Scherzer, 39, is in the second season of a three-year, $130 million contract. The final year of the deal was a player option worth $43.3 million that Scherzer picked up as part of the trade.
The right-hander is 9-4 this season but has pitched to a 4.01 ERA, his worst mark in more than a decade.
The trade came a day after Scherzer said he wanted to speak with the Mets’ front office about its intentions before the Aug. 1 trade deadline. The Mets traded closer David Robertson to the Marlins on Thursday.
“Probably got to have a conversation with the front office,” Scherzer said Friday after holding the Nationals to one run over seven innings in a win. “I mean, you’re trading our closer away. I’m sure a bunch of people are gonna have to have conversations with the front office.”
Texas hopes Scherzer can bolster a rotation that’s missing former Mets ace Jacob deGrom, who recently underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow after signing a five-year contract with the Rangers in the offseason.
The Rangers lead the AL West. Their pitching coach is Mike Maddux, who held the same role with the Nationals in 2016 and 2017, when Scherzer won back-to-back Cy Young Awards there.
“Beyond excited to reunite with old baseball friends and meet new ones but absolutely crushed saying goodbye to current ones,” the pitcher’s wife, Erica Scherzer, tweeted Saturday. “What a day.”
The Nationals traded Scherzer to the Dodgers before the 2021 trade deadline. Scherzer said that situation was different than this year’s with the Mets, who are in fourth place in the NL East and outside of the playoff picture despite the highest payroll in MLB history.
“When I was in Washington, I was going to be a free agent,” Scherzer said Friday. “Our season was going south and I wanted to get traded to a playoff contender. That was the calculus with me with the Nationals. This time around, I’m not going to be a free agent. I have another year here. We did great things last year. We won 101 ballgames last year. Unfortunately, this year it’s not.”
About an hour before news of the trade talks emerged, Mets manager Buck Showalter said he didn’t have an issue with Scherzer’s comments.
“I’m sure that’s how he feels,” Showalter said Saturday. “Max has made it very clear why he gets up in the morning. He wants it to be here. That’s the way he’s always felt. He likes it here.”
Co-ace Justin Verlander, who signed a two-year, $86.6 million deal with the Mets in the offseason, has also been the subject of trade rumors.