Washington Nationals: Max Scherzer’s Presence Will Always Be Felt In D.C.
By Max Rayman
Max Scherzer arrived in D.C. as a free agent in 2015 with high expectations. At the time, he was a rising star with one AL Cy Young under his belt, but no one could predict what was to come. Scherzer delivered on his massive seven-year deal worth $210 million by becoming the best pitcher in baseball.
Throughout the years, the fanbase became enamored by the man with two different colored eyes as he played with an aggressiveness never seen before in D.C. From constantly overpowering hitters with his stuff to wearing his heart on his sleeve, Scherzer instantly became a fan favorite.
Over his six and a half years in the Nation’s capital, Scherzer has won two NL Cy Young awards, tied the MLB single-game record for strikeouts in a game (20), threw two no-hitters, and was instrumental in Washington winning its first-ever World Series title.
In 188 starts with the Nats, Scherzer is 91-47, with a 2.80 ERA, 1,605 strikeouts, and a 2.91 FIP. Mad Max will go down as the best pitcher in D.C. history since Walter Johnson.
Max Scherzer’s tenure could be coming to an end in D.C. Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
That famous Doctor Suess quote should apply to all Nationals fans in the coming days. Tonight, Max Scherzer was supposed to take the mound for what may have been the final time, but he was scratched with mild discomfort in his right tricep. With the Nats continuing to fall out of the division race and the trade deadline a week away, shipping out the ace is in the team’s best interest.
After shaking off trade rumors all season long, the team’s recent struggles and string of injuries have led to the Nats changing their stance.
With the worst farm system in baseball and one of the oldest rosters in the league, trading Scherzer is in the team’s best interest. It will be a painful decision, but it will help revamp the farm and will help the team return to contention.
Fangraphs recently proposed a trade that would send Scherzer to the Astros and in return Washington gets a head start on restocking the farm. The Nats would receive Jeremy Peña, Cory Lee, and Freudis Nova the Astros fourth, fifth, and sixth-ranked prospects respectively. This type of haul would go a long way to speeding up the team’s retool.
Teams are facing a thin starting pitcher market and Scherzer instantly becomes the top player available. In turn, this will lead to a high bidding war that would only end in Washington’s favor.
In a perfect world, Washington flips Scherzer to the highest bidder, he goes out and wins another ring, and then re-signs with Washington in the offseason. While it is an unlikely outcome, it has happened before. The New York Yankees traded Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs, who in fact won a world series ring and then returned to the Bronx in the off-season.
Keeping Scherzer for nostalgia’s sake is the wrong move, especially if he ends up leaving in the off-season. He turns 37 in three days and only has a couple of years left. Yes, his thunderous fistbumps and the way he yells into his glove whenever he misses a pitch will be missed. However, the team’s attention needs to be on the future, and bolstering the farm is a must.
Whatever happens between now and the trade deadline, Scherzer’s performance on and off the diamond will never be forgotten.