The Rangers went all-in at the trade deadline, acquiring two impact starting pitchers with separate deals for Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery in an attempt to hold onto their AL West lead. So far, the results haven’t been ideal.
Texas has slipped behind the Astros in the division and had sat behind the Mariners for multiple weeks until recently pulling back ahead of Seattle. Scherzer has pitched very well outside of one disastrous start against the Astros, while Montgomery has hit a few more bumps.
Neither is capable of solving the Rangers’ biggest issue — the bullpen — but both were brought in to be key parts of a team with World Series aspirations. For Scherzer, that plan might be off the table.
Scherzer’s status going forward is murky after he left Tuesday’s start against the Blue Jays with an injury, which threatens to de-rail not just the remainder of the regular season, but the playoffs.
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Here are the latest updates on Scherzer’s injury and his status moving forward.
Max Scherzer injury update
Rangers GM Chris Young told reporters Wednesday that Scherzer is dealing with a strained teres major muscle and and will miss the remainder of the regular season.
Young added that a postseason return for Scherzer is unlikely. He won’t need surgery.
Right-hander Max Scherzer is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season with a strained teres major — a muscle that connects the scapula to the humerus. Scherzer is, Texas GM Chris Young told reporters, “unlikely” to pitch in the playoffs.
Brutal news for the Rangers.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) September 13, 2023
It’s difficult news for Texas, considering Scherzer has plenty of postseason experience and could have been valuable in a high-pressure wild card series if the Rangers find themselves in that scenario.
Texas is also fighting for positioning, with any possibility from a division title and the No. 2 seed to missing the postseason entirely still on the table.
Montgomery, Nathan Eovaldi, Jon Gray and Dane Dunning will anchor the Rangers’ rotation going forward, with Andrew Heaney a candidate to rejoin the group.
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What is the teres major muscle?
The teres major muscle connects the humerus to the scapula. The humerus is the upper arm bone, while the scapula is the shoulder blade.
While Scherzer’s injury isn’t serious enough to require surgery, it’s pretty clear why an injury involving both the shoulder blade and upper arm can be problematic for a 39-year-old pitcher.
Max Scherzer trade details
The Rangers’ trade for Scherzer was fairly simple from a player perspective. Texas sent prospect Luisangel Acuna, brother of Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr., to the Mets in a one-for-one deal.
Financially, the move was a bit more complicated. The Rangers had to convince Scherzer to pick up his $43.3 million player option for 2024, and they also convinced the Mets to pick up $35 million of Scherzer’s remaining salary through 2024. The Rangers are paying Scherzer $22.5 million between 2023 and 2024.
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Max Scherzer contract details
Scherzer agreed to pick up his $43.3 million player option for 2024 when the trade was completed, so the Rangers have the future Hall of Famer under contract through next season. That means Scherzer likely hasn’t pitched his last game in a Rangers uniform, even if he doesn’t return this season as expected.
Scherzer signed a three-year, $130 million deal with the Mets in 2021 that included the player option for 2024.
Max Scherzer stats
Scherzer’s numbers in 2023 have certainly been respectable, but they haven’t been what the three-time Cy Young winner has traditionally posted. Scherzer has a career 3.15 ERA and 3,367 career strikeouts, most among all active pitchers.
With the Mets, Scherzer posted more vintage stats. He had a 2.29 ERA in 2022, missing a portion of the season but finishing with a stellar 0.91 WHIP and 173 strikeouts.
The Rangers saw some flashes of brilliance from Scherzer, but the 39-year-old will enter 2024 with more questions than ever after a shaky 2023.