SAN DIEGO (AP) — The slumping Texas Rangers acquired three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer on Saturday night during a 4-0 loss to Yu Darvish and the San Diego Padres, their sixth loss in eight games cutting their AL West lead to one game over Houston.
The blockbuster trade with the New York Mets came as Rangers ace Nathan Eovaldi had his next start pushed back again and manager Bruce Bochy spoke of the need for the rotation to improve. Then Martín Pérez gave up four runs in the second inning, when the 32-year-old left-hander allowed five straight baserunners and two runs before getting his first out.
The Rangers added the 39-year-old Scherzer with another former Mets pitcher with Cy Young credentials, two-time winner Jacob deGrom, sidelined by Tommy John elbow surgery, possibly all the way through the end of next season. A person with knowledge of the deal spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t been announced.
According to multiple reports, the deal nets New York one of the top Texas prospects in infielder Luisangel Acuña, the younger brother of Atlanta star Ronald Acuña Jr. As part of the deal, Scherzer agreed to opt in on the final year of his contract in 2024 at $43 million, according to reports that also said the Mets were paying about $35 million of the remaining $58 million on the right-hander’s contract.
The Padres have won two straight against the Rangers after looking dismal in losing two of three to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are last in the NL Central.
San Diego has fallen short of expectations after it reached the NL Championship Series last year and increased its payroll to about $250 million, third-highest in the majors. The Padres came into Saturday night buried in fourth place in the NL West, nine games behind Los Angeles, and six games out of the third wild-card spot.
Darvish (8-7) held his former club to three hits in six innings while striking out nine and walking two.
Pérez (8-4) allowed four runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings, walked three and struck out one.
Luis Campusano hit a bases-loaded RBI single to start the scoring in the second inning while Gary Sanchez followed with a run-scoring walk. Ha-Seong Kim added a two-run single.
Rangers: Bochy said Eovaldi “has just a touch of mild soreness there” in his elbow so he’ll be pushed back again. “We don’t think it’s serious or anything,” the manager said.
Padres: Manager Bob Melvin said an MRI on Juan Soto’s right middle finger “looked good,” although pain is “going to be there some.”
With Eovaldi’s next start pushed back, the Rangers will go with a bullpen game for Sunday’s series finale while Padres LHP Blake Snell (7-8, 2.61 ERA) is scheduled to make his final start before the trade deadline. Snell has been mentioned as a trade possibility if the struggling Padres think they’re too far out to make a playoff run.
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