9h54 : Max Scherzer remains the most intriguing business candidate in the market, and interested parties will consider it further before deciding on an asking price. Nats skipper Dave Martinez told reporters Thursday morning that Scherzer will start Game 1 of today’s doubles program against the Phillies (Lien Twitter via Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post). It seems likely that this will be Scherzer’s last start with the Nationals, and it will serve as a sort of audition to prove that his triceps are at full power; Scherzer has been scratched since leaving Saturday due to mild discomfort in his triceps, but an MRI has since returned clean.
With a reported preference to land with one of the three contenders at NL West and full no-trade rights to help guide him to a destination he loves, it feels like a matter of when he’s traded instead. that of if. Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post tweets that there is a feeling throughout the organization that a profession is going to be formed today.
This makes sense, as the Nats want to allow as much time as possible after the deal to work out the finer details of Scherzer giving up his non-trade rights. Adjustments to salary deferrals in his contract or smaller details along those lines could be arranged as compensation for Scherzer forfeiting his 10 and 5 coverage without a trade-off. Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal writes that the Covid outbreak that Nationals are currently facing may have concerned some key Nats staff and slowed the pace of talks as some expected them to have a deal in place by last night.
The purchase price of premium rentals (ex. Nelson Cruz, March starling) has been considered steep so far, and Rosenthal unsurprisingly suggests Washington has a high price on Scherzer. However, we have yet to see any of the high-end rental pitchers change hands – perhaps because other clubs want to wait until Scherzer is removed from the board before pushing their own rental starters.
While the current wisdom is that one of the Giants, Padres or Dodgers is the favorite to land Scherzer, there are at least a few other possibilities worth noting. Athletic’s Jim Bowden writes that ownership of the Red Sox prompted the front office to close a deal, for example. The Sox have been linked to Scherzer before, but they would be something of a surprise, given the property’s longstanding reluctance to cross the luxury tax threshold. Scherzer should be seen as a player worthy of this exception, or the Red Sox should probably step up their potential in order to convince the Nationals to pay the remaining salary on Scherzer’s contract. Meanwhile, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, suggest that the Padres are more focused on Minnesota Jose Berrios than they are on Scherzer yet.