Max, JV join exclusive list of duos
2023 Mets will be 8th team with 2 multi-time Cy Young winners
The Mets’ rotation is setting up to be quite decorated once again in 2023, based on Justin Verlander’s reported two-year deal with the club. Only 11 pitchers have at least three Cy Young Awards, and Verlander and Max Scherzer are two of them, with Verlander winning in the AL this past season.
Verlander will be the eighth multi-time Cy Young winner to pitch for the Mets. At seven thus far in franchise history, the Mets have already had three more of those than any other franchise, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Those seven are Tom Glavine, Pedro Martínez, Bret Saberhagen, Johan Santana, Tom Seaver, Jacob deGrom and Scherzer.
What about two of those multi-time Award-winning pitchers being on the team together? Last season, Scherzer and deGrom became just the seventh duo of multi-time Cy Young Award winners to pitch for the same team in at least one season. And now Scherzer and Verlander will be the eighth. (One word of caution: None of the previous seven combined for a World Series title in those seasons.)
This is considering only pitchers who had already won at least two Cy Young Awards entering that season, so Scherzer and Verlander count now -- but not for their previous pairing with the Tigers (2010-14). Here’s a look at these star-studded duos.
2022 Mets: Max Scherzer & Jacob deGrom
The Mets made a huge splash by signing Scherzer away from the Dodgers, inking him to a three-year, $130 million contract. From 2016-19, both he and deGrom had won a pair of NL Cy Young Awards. Both pitchers were effective in 2022, but injuries limited Scherzer to 23 starts and deGrom to 11 -- although that didn't stop the club from winning 101 games. However, the Mets fell to the Padres in the NL Wild Card Series before deGrom bolted for Texas as a free agent, thereby opening the door for Verlander to jump to Queens.
2021 Dodgers: Max Scherzer & Clayton Kershaw
That’s right, Scherzer has been part of three of these duos in the past three seasons. The Dodgers acquired him from the Nationals ahead of the 2021 Trade Deadline, giving the club four pitchers with Cy Young Awards to their credit (Scherzer, Kershaw, David Price and Trevor Bauer). That set a record for a team in a single season. In Scherzer and Kershaw, L.A. had two three-time winners, becoming the second team to have such a duo pitch for them in a season, but the first to have them in the rotation at the same time. The other instance: the 1986 White Sox, with Steve Carlton and Tom Seaver, who did not overlap on the roster. More on them later.
2008 Mets: Pedro Martínez & Johan Santana
Martínez had three Cy Youngs and Santana had two, each of them winning those awards before coming to the Mets. The Mets signed Martínez in free agency entering the 2005 season, then added Santana in a trade entering ‘08. Their one season of overlap saw Santana lead the Majors in ERA at 2.53, while Martínez had a 5.61 mark in his final year in Queens.
2005-07 Mets: Pedro Martínez & Tom Glavine
Of course, Santana wasn’t the only multi-time Cy Young winner with whom Martínez overlapped over the course of his contract in Flushing. When he arrived, Glavine had already been on the Mets since 2003, after winning two Cy Youngs in the ’90s with the Braves. The duo made the National League All-Star team together in 2006, part of a franchise-record six All-Stars for the Mets that year.
1999-2002 Braves: Tom Glavine & Greg Maddux
Martínez wasn’t Glavine’s only multi-time Cy Young-winning teammate in his career. Glavine’s first Cy Young Award came in 1991 and his second in ‘98. His teammate Greg Maddux had already won four Cy Youngs -- in a row -- by the end of the ‘95 awards season. For the final four years they were teammates, from 1999 through 2002, Glavine and Maddux were a multi-award-winning duo.
2001 Red Sox: Pedro Martínez & Bret Saberhagen
We’ll forgive you if this one didn’t jump to mind immediately. Saberhagen pitched for the Red Sox from 1997-99 and in 2001, after winning his Cy Youngs in 1985 and ‘89. But Martínez’s second Cy Young came in ‘99, so he didn’t qualify to be one of these teammates until 2000 -- when he’d go on to win a third, anyway. Saberhagen missed the entire ‘00 season recovering from injury, so the only year where each pitched as a multi-time winner for the Sox was ‘01. Saberhagen made just three starts, and Martínez missed time as well -- so they were never in the rotation at the same time.
1986 White Sox: Steve Carlton & Tom Seaver
These were two Hall of Famers at the tail ends of their careers. Carlton had won his four Cy Youngs by the end of 1982 and Seaver had won his three by the end of ‘75. Seaver began the season on the White Sox but was traded to the Red Sox for Steve Lyons on June 29. Meanwhile, Carlton began the year on the Phillies before being released on June 24. He signed as a free agent with the Giants on July 4, and they released him on Aug. 7. The White Sox quickly scooped him up a few days later. Thus, while Seaver and Carlton both pitched for the White Sox in ‘86, they were never on the roster at the same time.