Reports: Max Scherzer close to signing with Nationals


Sep 25, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher

Max Scherzer

(37) pitches against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a strange winter for the Washington Nationals. The team entered the offseason on the heels of their second division title in three years and boasting one of the deepest, most talented rosters in baseball. They could have stayed quiet this offseason and would’ve still entered the 2015 season as World Series favorites. But, despite a slow start to the offseason, the Nationals did not stand pat.

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Last week, the team traded reliever Tyler Clippard to the Athletics in exchange for infielder Yunel Escobar to fill the hole that was left at second base after Asdrubal Cabrera departed via free agency. The Nationals could’ve gone with a combination of Danny Espinosa and Dan Uggla at second base and they would probably still have had a potent enough offense to play deep into October. But general manager Mike Rizzo doesn’t settle for “probably,” and he made a big move to bring in the man he wanted for the job.

Now, Rizzo and the Nationals appear to be closing in on an even bigger and even more surprising deal. According to multiple reports, the Nationals are on the verge of signing two-time All-Star and Cy Young award-winner Max Scherzer.

There was some talk earlier this offseason about the Nationals being in on Scherzer, but nothing ever materialized and most expected the team would just enter the 2015 season with last year’s rotation – which would already be one of the best in baseball.

Now, however, it looks like the Nationals are not only serious about signing Scherzer, but they could sign him very soon. According to Fox Sports’s Ken Rosenthal, the deal would likely be for seven years and at least $180 million, which would be the richest contract the Nationals have ever given a player.

While Scherzer would be an expensive addition for the Nationals, signing the right-hander would be signing one of the best pitchers in the sport. Scherzer won the Cy Young award in 2013 after going 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA. He was almost as good last season, going 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA.

Of course, signing Scherzer won’t be easy. Not only would any deal with Scherzer involve a huge amount of money, but it could also force the Nationals to part ways with one of their starting pitchers. Right now, according to reports, it looks like the Nationals would trade Jordan Zimmermann if they were to sign Scherzer. That said, the team could just as easily trade another starter, such as Stephen Strasburg, or they could decide not to trade anyone.

As of right now, the Nationals have not yet signed Scherzer. We’ll continue to monitor this story as it develops.