Max Scherzer is set to hold a bullpen session on Tuesday, Mets manager Buck Showalter said Newsday’s Tim Healey and other journalists. Right hamstring strain kept Scherzer out of a seven-inning intrasquad game scheduled for Saturday, which was supposed to be Scherzer’s last spring job before the start of the regular season.
The ace has already pitched 11 Grapefruit League innings, so his arm might already be built enough if he makes it through Tuesday’s bullpen without any ill effects. It’s also possible the Mets will opt for extra caution, and push back Scherzer’s first start by at least a few days, or maybe even sideline him with a backdated IL visit just to be completely sure the 37-year-old player is completely ready.
Scherzer’s health took on greater importance to the Mets following Friday’s news that Jacob of Grom will likely miss at least the first two months of the season after an MRI revealed a stress reaction in his right shoulder blade. The Mets begin play April 7 with seven straight games (a four-game series against the Nationals, then a three-game series against the Phillies), so there are no days off to give staff a break. of launchers.
DeGrom and Scherzer had been signed up for the first two games on the schedule, with Chris Bassit, Carlos Carrascoand Taijuan walker then planned to follow in the rotation. Rather than disrupt that planned routine, if Scherzer can’t launch on April 7, none of Tyler Megill, David PetersonWhere Trevor Williams could start the first two games, or New York could even opt for a bullpen game. Of course, the Mets have also been known to be looking for more pitching help, so a new face could suddenly emerge to help complete the rotational picture.
DeGrom sat down with reporters (including Mike Puma of the New York Post) today to discuss his injury and, unsurprisingly, his “the frustration level is really high right now” on another long stint on the injured list. A forearm injury ended deGrom’s 2021 season on July 7, cutting short an incredible year that saw deGrom post a 1.08 ERA in 92 innings.
If there’s a bright side, deGrom is confident that his stress response won’t be a lingering problem: “Structurally everything looks fine so once the bone heals we will be good to go from there and hopefully be healthy for the rest of the year..” As such, deGrom reiterated that he still plans to exercise the opt-out clause of his contract after the season and test the open market.
Most pitchers with this recent injury history would be more hesitant to walk away from a guaranteed $30.5 million in 2023, plus perhaps an additional $32.5 million in 2024 via a club option Put. However, if deGrom is healthy and pitching as usual when he returns to the mound, he will surely land a more lucrative multi-year engagement. As The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal pointed out, $12 million of deGrom’s 2023 salary would also be carried over, so the withdrawal would allow deGrom to secure more upfront money in a new contract.
In other Mets contract news (or lack thereof), Puma reports that there was no discussion between the club and Brandon Nimmorepresentatives of a contract extension. Nimmo has repeatedly said he would be interested in a long-term deal as he enters his final season before free agency. In general, most players prefer not to let talks continue past opening day, so there may not be much time left to strike a deal if Nimmo meets that approximate time frame.
Nimmo has been one of baseball’s most productive players over the past few years, hitting .266/.393/.445 with 47 homers on 1,695 career AP. This translates to a very impressive 131 OPS+ and 134 wRC+, but the key stat might be the relatively low number of plate appearances as Nimmo has been beset by multiple injuries. The Mets may have put extension talks on hold to see if Nimmo can finally rack up a long stretch of playing time in 2022, although if he remains healthy then Nimmo could be tempted to test the market for free agents.