It is official; Max Scherzer has reached an agreement with the Washington Nationals.
The deal comes amid rampant speculation Sunday evening that the two-time All-Star was nearing a deal with the Nationals.
At the time we knew Scherzer had a seven-year offer on the table, but there were no dollar figures and it was rumored that a “mystery team” was still in the mix for the right-hander’s services.
Concerns about a “mystery team” swooping in to mess up the Nationals plans were put to rest shortly after midnight when the club reportedly made things official.
William Ladson of MLB.com confirmed the news via Twitter:
Shortly thereafter, Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports chimed in to confirm that the deal was worth north of $180 million.
The contract surpasses the six-year, $155 million pact that Jon Lester agreed to with the Chicago Cubs last month and becomes the highest contract ever doled out to a free-agent starting pitcher.
In terms of overall value; it would seem the deal matches – and will inevitably surpass – the 2013 extension Justin Verlander signed with the Tigers, which added five years and $140 million onto the right-hander’s existing deal, essentially turning it into a similar seven-year, $180 million pact.
Scherzer’s deal would, however, still fall shy of Clayton Kershaw’s record seven-year, $215 million extension that he signed a year ago.
The final financial details have yet to be released, but it’s speculated that Scherzer’s agent Scott Boras was able to negotiate enough incentives, bonuses, and other contract wizardry to give the 2013 Cy Young winner a legitimate chance at reaching the $200 million he was seeking when he hit free agency.
The deal also proves that Scherzer was wise to bet on himself last spring when he reportedly turned down a six-year, $144 million extension offer from Detroit; trusting that he would make significantly more on the open market.
Scherzer, 30, has been one of baseball’s best pitchers over the last two seasons going 39-8 with a 3.02 ERA, 135 ERA+, 2.79 FIP, 1.07 WHIP, and a 492/119 K/BB ratio in 434.2 innings.
Throughout his seven-year career, split between Arizona and Detroit, he has a 3.58 ERA, 117 ERA+, 3.39 FIP, and a 1.22 WHIP while average 9.6 K/9 and nearly 200 innings per season.
He’ll join a starting rotation that was already one of the National League’s best and includes Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, and Tanner Roark.
The Nationals are already the reigning NL East champions and are clearly poised to repeat with the addition of Scherzer creating a rotation that could be one of — if not the — greatest of all-time.
It’s speculated that the club will need to make a trade to accommodate for Scherzer’s salary. The club has a lot of impending free agents including Zimmermann, Fister, shortstop Ian Desmond, and outfielder Denard Span.
As Jon Morosi of FoxSports indicates, there is also some rumblings that the club could switch gears and look to move Strasburg – likely for a much larger return – and attempt to retain some of the other impending free agents.
Expect a lot more action coming out of Washington before spring training kicks off next month.
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