The Max Scherzer sweepstakes may soon reach a conclusion.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that Scherzer has a seven-year offer on the table and the Washington Nationals are believed to be in the mix, with at least one other club still lurking in the weeds.
This is the first time that the Nationals have crept into talk about Scherzer, but it’s worth noting that general manager Mike Rizzo originally drafted Scherzer when he worked for the Diamondbacks and has made many unexpected pitching additions in recent years.
Washington’s payroll currently sits at $133.4 million, but shortstop Ian Desmond, outfielder Denard Span, and starting pitchers Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister are all slated to hit free agency at the end of the upcoming season. Their departures would free up nearly $48 million. The addition of Scherzer would almost certainly lead to the club trading a starting pitcher.
Scherzer, 30, is a two-time All-Star who went 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA, 1.175 WHIP, and a 252/63 K/BB ratio in 220.1 innings last season with Detroit.
The right-hander took home the Cy Young award in 2013 and finished fifth in voting in 2014.
Jon Lester set the high-water mark earlier this off-season when he signed a six-year, $155 million deal with the Chicago Cubs. Scherzer is expected to eclipse that in terms of both years and total dollars.
It’s too soon to consider this a done deal, especially with a reported mystery team still in play and super agent Scott Boras pulling the strings for Scherzer’s negotiations.
We’ll have more information when Scherzer finally puts pen to paper.
Update: It seems that the “mystery team” might not be a factor as the Nationals reportedly are closing in on a deal quite quickly with Scherzer, but no one is quite ready to call it official.
…more as it develops.