Max Scherzer went (82-35) in 161 starts over five seasons with Detroit, posting a 3.52 ERA, 3.32 FIP, 2.71 BB/9 and 9.60 K/9 in 1,013 innings pitched. In 2014 with the Tigers, after turning down what was reportedly a 6-year/$144M offer, Scherzer went (18-5) in 33 starts with a 3.15 ERA, 2.85 FIP, 63 walks (2.57 BB/9) and 252 Ks (10.29 K/9) in 220 ⅓ IP. This winter, he signed a 7-year/$210M deal with the Washington Nationals.
As much success as he's enjoyed in recent seasons, New York Times' writer Tyler Kepner wrote on Thursday that the 30-year-old right-hander is still hard at work on improving his repertoire.
Max Scherzer Is Thinking Big. His $210M Contract Is Just a Start. http://t.co/6WsATW4H9s— Tyler Kepner (@TylerKepner) February 26, 2015
As Scherzer drove to the airport following his introductory press conference in the nation's capital last month, he, "... had parting words for his agent, Scott Boras.":
"'Wait till you see my new cutter,' Scherzer said."
As Scherzer explained it to Kepner at the Nationals' Spring Training facility this week, working on the pitch he's thrown on occasion (according to Fangraphs) over the past two season is a focus for him as he prepares for his eighth big-league campaign.
(Screencap via MLB Network)
Adding a curve to the mix in 2012-13 helped him turn a corner in Detroit, and now he's hard at work "refining" the cutter.
"He said his philosophy was simple: Nobody stays the same, so the choice is easy.
"'That’s kind of my motto right now,' Scherzer said. 'You either get better or you get worse. So for me, I’m focused, in every way, on getting better.'"
In a segment on MLB Tonight, inside Studio 42 last night, former major league starter Al Leiter broke down Scherzer's new cutter and talked about the difference it could make for the one-time Cy Young Award-winning starter: