I’m a sucker for a story of a major league player, especially a star-quality, record-contract type, splurging for a special postgame dinner for a minor league team after appearing for them on a rehab assignment. Max Scherzer started twice for the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, which is a tremendous sentence in its own right, and is expected to rejoin the Mets rotation early next week.
After his Wednesday start for Binghamton, Scherzer not only provided dinner that included ribeye steaks, filet mignon, and lobster, described as “a feast” by Jake Mintz at Fox Sports.
“Whereas a normal postgame dinner would be limited to just one folding table, Chateau Scherzer was a three-to-four folding table situation,” Mintz wrote. “The approximate dollar figure tossed around the clubhouse was upward of $7,000.”
Scherzer also bought everyone on the team AirPods, wrote Mintz.
After earning more than $240 million in salary in his career, including pitching the final three months of last season with the Dodgers, Scherzer then signed a three-year, $130 million contract with New York that set a record for highest average annual salary in the sport.
Scherzer was also a part of the MLB Players Association executive subcommittee, front and center during labor negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. In terms of paying it forward, Scherzer has definitely walked the walk.
Moving around the field
Mookie Betts is set to return on Sunday after missing 15 games. The plan was for him to play second base for a bit to ease the burden of returning from his fractured rib, but with Chris Taylor inuring his foot on Saturday, Betts will, at least for one day, be back in right field.
Betts on Saturday talked about the benefits of playing second base, at least temporarily. From J.P. Hoornstra in the Orange County Register:
“It’s just less running overall,” he said. “People take for granted simply going from the dugout to right field ― you’re running out there, balls in the gap ― it’s a lot less steps. That’s really all it is. Kind of like load management.”
Among the tidbits in Ken Rosenthal’s latest notes column at The Athletic is Trea Turner changing his positioning at shortstop to improve his defensive metrics, with free agency looming this offseason. From Rosenthal:
Turner said by positioning himself closer, he started making the same plays as other shortstops instead of getting “dinged” in the defensive calculations. He feels his throwing is much better than it was last season, and that his defense at short overall is the best of his career. So in his mind, the metrics were not reflecting how well he was performing.