Max Scherzer, who next week could become the 10th player in history to win three Cy Young Awards, was voted the National League’s Outstanding Pitcher by his peers as part of MLB’s Players Choice Awards announced Wednesday. Players voted Scherzer’s Nationals teammate Ryan Zimmerman the NL’s Comeback Player of the Year.
“It’s really almost the highest honor you can get,” Scherzer told MLB Network. “When you have the respect of your players, that’s what matters most. The fact that they voted me, I really take that seriously and have a lot of respect for the whole league because I know how hard it is to win this award.”
Scherzer, who went 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA and led the National League in strikeouts, was voted the American League’s top pitcher in 2013 while with the Detroit Tigers. He won his second Cy Young Award in 2016, which was his first season playing for manager Dusty Baker and working with pitching coach Mike Maddux. After the Nationals decided not to renew Baker’s contract following the Nationals’ playoff loss to the Cubs this season, Maddux left to become the pitching coach of the Cardinals. The Nationals introduced former Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez as Baker’s replacement last week and announced Thursday that former Cardinals pitching coach Derek Lilliquist will replace Maddux.
“I have not gotten a chance to talk to Dave, but I am excited,” Scherzer said of the changes, which came after the Nationals’ second consecutive division title. “It was sad losing Dusty and Mad Dog there for me, but at the same time, sometimes that thing happens. We know how good Dusty is and how good Mad Dog was, but sometimes change is good. You got to embrace what your new manager is going to bring, and I look forward to working with Dave and our future staff.”
Zimmerman, who hit .303/.358/.573 with a career-high 36 home runs after an injury-marred 2016 season, also said he hadn’t spoken to Martinez yet.
“I’ve met him a couple of times along the way,” Zimmerman said. “He’s been around for a while, doing what he’s done. He seems like a great guy. A very positive attitude, played in the big leagues for a long time. I look forward to talking to him very shortly. I think all of us are excited about the opportunity that he brings here, and a good team coming back, we should be really good again next year. It’ll be fun to see what kind of his experience and his attitude brings to the club.”
Scherzer and Zimmerman both received $20,000 grants from the MLB players trust as part of their awards. Scherzer’s grant will benefit the Humane Rescue Alliance, while Zimmerman’s will benefit his ziMS Foundation.
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