Monday, January 19, 2015

Nationals sign Max Scherzer and why this affects the future

The Washington Nationals snagged the big fish of the free agent arms in the eyes of many in signing former Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer to a seven year deal for 210 million dollars.
Half of the contract is deferred,so the blow to the current salary structure is not as bad as it could have been and might enable the Nationals to keep Jordan Zimmermann for the season (free agent after the year) in an attempt to finally get over the top after falling short for the last few years.

For the short term,this is a great signing as the team has installed one of the best strikeout pitchers in the game into a rotation that already features Stephen Strasburg,the aforementioned Zimmermann,Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez for what should compete for the best overall rotation in the game.
Scherzer might be the piece that the Nationals needed and for a team in win now mode makes sense as a short term signing.
My guess has always been that Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper are out as soon as they are free agent eligible,so there is a window in Washington.
If Washington wins a championship,this deal was worth it at almost any cost.

However,I see some red alerts flashing and I'm not sure that that fans will be thrilled in the long run,unless the Nationals win multiple titles in the term of this contract.
The first of which is that despite Scherzer's top of the game last two years and a good 2012,for a pitcher that is 30-Scherzer's stat line is not as impressive as one would suspect.
You could make an argument that Scherzer is just now hitting his stride and I would tend to agree judging his numbers,but it could be that you have seen his peak years and even though his first 2/3 years in D.C.might be strong,Scherzer might have left his best games in Detroit.
Two other red flags to me are a flyball pitcher (never less than 18 homers allowed in six seasons) leaving a pitcher park in Detroit's Comerica and the high effort delivery that might make Scherzer a candidate for a breakdown.
Scherzer's delivery makes me wonder about mechanics leading to injury and I would even predict this-even with a great season-leaving Comerica Park will see Scherzer's home runs allowed totals go near 30 in 2015.
Both of those are theories and concerns on my part,but ones that should have Nationals fans at least thinking over the next few seasons.

All and all,I think the Nationals made an error by making this a seven year deal,although deferring some of the money allows them some financial flexibility and takes away some concerns,but in the near future,Washington has made them the chic' pick to win the senior circuit with this signing.
Assuming that the team keeps Jordan Zimmermann (and that is an assumption),this team's starting pitching matches and maybe exceeds anyone else's in the league,so if they can get decent help from the bullpen-Washington shouldn't have any issue in winning the division at least.

Great for the short term,questionable for the long-the Washington Nationals continue to go all in on Scott Boras clients in an attempt to win the championship that has eluded them thus far.
I applaud the effort,even as I question the methods and decision making....

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