Has Max Scherzer pitched his last game as a Detroit Tiger? With Brad Ausmus in place as the new manager, that’s the most important question looming over Detroit’s hot stove season.
FOX’s Ken Rosenthal reported Wednesday that the Tigers plans for Scherzer are “not clear” and that they are currently in ‘listening, not shopping’ mode”.
But Rosenthal does offer up one possibility should Detroit move Scherzer: the Washington Nationals.
Think about it:
• Scherzer and Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo have a history — Scherzer was Rizzo’s last first-round pick as Diamondbacks scouting director, going No. 11 in 2006.
• The Nationals are deep in young power arms and veteran late-inning relievers, both of which surely are on Tigers GM David Dombrowski’s wish list.
• The price in prospects for Scherzer, a free agent at the end of next season, would be lower than it is for Price, who is under club control for two more years.
• And, finally, the Nats maintain a strong relationship with Scherzer’s agent, Scott Boras, and might stand a better chance of signing the pitcher long term than most clubs.
Any Scherzer trade would (should?) only happen if the Tigers are blown away by the return they might get. Even if Scherzer settles on arbitration and a contract upwards of $12 or $13 million, his presence on the staff would help Detroit stay a World Series contender for another year.
Giving him to the Nationals, on the other hand, would leave a huge gap in the rotation, while at the same time strengthening one of the National League’s stronger teams.
Dave Dombrowksi has pulled the early trigger on major trades before — he dealt Jeff Weaver, then the ace of Detroit’s staff, for Carlos Pena and Jeremy Bonderman (among others in a multi-team deal); he later acquired Scherzer as part of the Curtis Granderson blockbuster. Unloading Scherzer for a max return now would fit right in line with those moves.