Nationals Sign Max Scherzer
If you haven’t already heard, the best pitching staff in the NL East just got one man stronger — the Nationals have agreed with Max Scherzer on a 7-year, $200M+ contract.
With Scherzer in the fold, the Nats now have a fantasy-like rotation that also includes Jordan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister, Gio Gonzalez, and Tanner Roark. Hmm … six pitchers for five spots … there appears to be a surplus.
I’m not sure what would be more dismaying to Mets fans and the rest of the NL East — if the Nats deal from that surplus, or keep all the arms together. Sure, the knee-jerk, obvious reaction is that Washington will quickly unload Zimmerman or Fister, as each are in a walk year. But then again, if you can afford to keep everyone, and you’re going for a World Championship, why be in such a rush to trade away a pitcher? Rare is the season that a club gets 32-33 starts each from their projected five starters — inevitably, someone goes down, if not for a few starts, than a bulk of the season. So why not keep as many quality arms as one can, as insurance against injury (or injuries)?
If indeed the Nationals DO keep all six starters, they’re going to be extremely tough to unseat from atop the NL East, as they’ll have one of the top rotations in all of baseball, and insulated from setbacks. Looking around their roster, they don’t have any glaring holes that will prevent them from winning. They’ll be without Jayson Werth for the first part of the season, so a big bat for the corner outfield would be nice, but likely won’t be necessary. Maybe they could upgrade the bullpen a bit — such as, insurance against Drew Storen going down or messing the bed. Otherwise, they’re in pretty good shape and don’t necessarily NEED to trade one of their starters.
Because they don’t need to trade a starting pitcher makes the Nationals particularly dangerous — because now, they can sit back and wait for a fantastic trade offer to arrive in their lap. Ideally, they’ll wait through spring training — first, just in case one of their arms goes down, and second, because an opposing team’s pitcher is bound to be lost for the season, which increases demand. Maybe the Nats will pick up a lights-out late-inning reliever. Maybe they’ll get a big bat. Maybe they’ll receive a package of near-ready prospects that will make up for the players they’ll lose after 2015. They’re in the driver’s seat, for now.
What do you think of this latest news? What would YOU do, if you were the Nationals? Trade, or keep? Sound off in the comments.