Jan 21, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer speaks during an introductory press conference at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
After days of talking about the biggest free agent acquisition in team history, the Nationals finally made the move official as the team introduced right-hander Max Scherzer in a press conference at Nationals Park Wednesday afternoon.
While the Nationals didn’t introduce their new ace until Wednesday, it’s been known for several days that Scherzer was set to join what is undoubtedly the best rotation in baseball.
Rumors that the Nationals were heavily pursuing the right-hander began swirling Sunday afternoon, and by early Monday morning, reports confirmed that the Nationals had agreed to terms with Scherzer on multi-year deal. The contract, which is the richest in franchise history, is for seven years and $210 million, though half of it is deferred.
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Joining Scherzer at the podium in today’s press conference were general manager Mike Rizzo, manager Matt Williams and agent Scott Boras. The Nationals also unveiled Scherzer’s new jersey and number. The right-hander, who wore Stephen Strasburg‘s No. 37 with the Tigers last season, will wear No. 31.
At the press conference, both Scherzer and Rizzo discussed why the mega-deal between the Nationals and the right-hander was the right move. For Scherzer, the answer was simple. While the $210 million was probably a strong incentive, the 2013 Cy Young award winner signed with the Nationals for one reason: to win.
"“I think this team is capable of winning and winning a lot,” Scherzer said. “When you look at near term and long term, this is an organization you want to be a part of. …I want to win and that’s why I’m here.”"
Of course, the Nationals brought in Scherzer for the same reason; they want to win the World Series. And although baseball is an unpredictable game and anything can happen over the course of a 162-game season, there’s no doubt that signing Scherzer gives the Nationals a better chance of accomplishing their goal.
Scherzer, 30, is one of the best pitchers in the game. The right-hander won the Cy Young award in 2013 after going 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and was just as dominant last season, going 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA. Not only is Scherzer a valuable asset on his own, but he joins a rotation that was already one of the best in baseball.
Rizzo, who was part of the Arizona Diamondbacks front office that drafted Scherzer in 2006, has high praise for his $210 million right-hander.
"“Whenever you can acquire a player of Max Scherzer’s ability level, character and toughness on the mound, those opportunities are few and far between,” Rizzo said. “We saw a player that we were extremely interested in. He fits all the criteria we’re looking for in a Washington Nationals type of player. He’s good between the lines, he’s a tough guy, he takes the ball, he gets after it, he attacks hitters. And then in the clubhouse — magnificent teammate, in the community does nothing but impress everybody he touches. You can’t ask for more. He’s the type of guy we’re looking for.”"
Missed the press conference? Checkout some highlight’s from the Nationals’ Twitter page below: