The battle for Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer is intensifying.
According to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres are among the top suitors for Scherzer heading into the July 30 trade deadline.
What's even more interesting about that is those three teams are in the same division and are in a tight battle for first place.
Sources: Max Scherzer trade talks have continued to intensify, and those close to the conversations believe a deal could be reached by late tonight. The Giants, Dodgers, and Padres are among the top suitors, but other clubs are involved. @MLBNetwork @MLB— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 28, 2021
The Giants currently lead the National League West with a 63-37 record, three games ahead of the Dodgers and 5.5 games ahead of the third-place Padres.
San Francisco wasn't expected to be a title contender this season, but the Giants have surprised everyone and have been one of the most exciting teams in baseball. However, the club could use some depth on the mound despite owning the second-lowest ERA (3.29) in Major League Baseball.
Johnny Cueto, Kevin Gausman and Anthony DeSclafani have been great this year, but adding Scherzer could allow the Giants to make a deep postseason run, something they haven't done since 2014 when they won the World Series.
The Dodgers, which own MLB's lowest ERA (3.22), could use another arm as the league continues to investigate sexual assault allegations against Trevor Bauer, who has been on administrative leave since July 2.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is currently rotating Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin and David Price. However, Kershaw is on the 10-day injured list with forearm inflammation, and L.A. prefers to use Price out of the bullpen.
The Padres need some pitching help if they want to contend with the Giants and Dodgers come fall. Dinelson Lamet is on the injured list, and adding Scherzer would give San Diego one of the best rotations in baseball.
Padres manager Jayce Tingler is currently rotating Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Joe Musgrove and Chris Paddack. If Scherzer were to come in, he'd quickly become the team's ace.
Scherzer is in the final year of his seven-year, $210 million deal with the Nationals and will be a free agent after the 2021 campaign. The St. Louis native has been one of Washington's best pitchers this season and without question the Nationals' ace since his arrival in D.C., so it's not hard to see why the Nats are hesitant to move him.
The 37-year-old is 7-4 this season with a 2.83 ERA, 0.886 WHIP and 142 strikeouts in 105 innings over 18 starts. He has also tossed one complete game this year.
In addition to the Giants, Dodgers and Padres, the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly in the market for a starting pitcher.