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Rangers’ Max Scherzer Denies Justin Verlander Rumors, Says Mets Had ‘Great Clubhouse’

Rangers’ Max Scherzer Denies Justin Verlander Rumors, Says Mets Had ‘Great Clubhouse’

CINCINNATI, OHIO - MAY 11: Justin Verlander #35 (L) and Max Scherzer #21 of the New York Mets look on from the dugout during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 11, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Earlier in August, Mike Puma of the New York Post reported that Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander had a “strained relationship” while they were teammates with the Detroit Tigers and “worked toward harmony” while paired with the New York Mets but still had “occasional discord.”

But on Monday, Scherzer told reporters he and Verlander were “on a better page now than we were when we started the season” and “were much better off than we’ve ever been” while also defending the clubhouse culture in New York:


Max Scherzer talks about his relationship with Justin Verlander and says the Mets had a “great clubhouse” when he was in New York:

“That’s definitely not the reason why we lost. We were a tight-knit group, had a lot of fun together.”

Puma also noted that Verlander contributed to the reported clubhouse issues, at least according to one source within the team:

“Verlander was a ‘diva,’ according to this Met, causing Scherzer to grouse about his fellow three-time Cy Young award winner. Verlander often complained about the Mets’ analytics department, which he deemed inferior to the one that served him in Houston. 

“Verlander, who was traded back to the Astros on Aug. 1, was largely detached from teammates, according to the Met, and didn’t add to the team’s identity.”

Just as much of an issue for the Mets was that a number of players simply didn’t perform up to expectation. During his time with the Mets this season before being traded to the Texas Rangers, Scherzer went 9-4 with a 4.01 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 121 strikeouts in 107.2 innings.

In 2022, 39-year-old had a 2.29 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. He wasn’t the same guy this season.

Verlander, 40, was 6-5 with a 3.15 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 81 strikeouts in 94.1 innings during his brief time with the Mets before being traded back to the Houston Astros. Last season, he was the AL Cy Young award winner, posting a 1.75 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 185 strikeouts.

He wasn’t the same guy with the Mets.

The expectation was that New York would have a rotation highlighted by two of the game’s most feared aces. Instead the pair of pitchers, making a combined $86.6 million this season, were closer to average than elite.

Add in a lineup that also underachieved—the Mets are 24th in team batting average (.237) and 19th in runs (572)—and you have the perfect storm. The result is a team that sits 60-71, last in the NL East, and underwent an epic fire sale ahead of this month’s trade deadline, Verlander and Scherzer included.

A potential lack of clubhouse chemistry has been one talking point. But whether that’s a reality or not doesn’t change the fact that the Mets, collectively, simply played really disappointing baseball this season, starting with their two former aces.

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