Nats sign Max Scherzer to a 7yr/$210M deal. Which, as noted in the rich comment thread on the previous post, occurred while I was away and could not properly analyze.
Well, so much for “payroll is topped out.”
Now it seems like the ownership narrative is going to be, “Mr. Lerner just turned 90 and didn’t buy this d*mn team so they could only just win the division a couple of times.”
Which, as a fan who is still scarred by the Jim Bowden years, when a $68M payroll was astronomical and our GM was shopping in the bargain basement/rejects line in the free agency trough, is pretty liberating. I guess this is sort of what it feels like to be a Yankees, Red Sox or Dodgers fan in some ways.
I have various thoughts, not having a chance to have read all the comments and all the analysis pieces out there.
- Apparently the contract is actually structured as $15M a year for 14 years, as opposed to $30M a year for seven. Man; that’s one heck of a pension plan Scherzer just got for himself.
- I agree with those that believe this is an insurance move that makes the inevitable departure of Jordan Zimmermann a bit less of a loss.
- Bummer for Tanner Roark if no subsequent moves are made; all he did was post a frigging 5 WAR season in 2014.
- I like Scherzer now … but man i’m worried about what he’ll look like in 5 years. There’s little to zero track record of long-term FA pitchers working out when signed to 9-figure deals. Trust me; I’ve got a huge spreadsheet as proof that these things almost never work out. So I think its fair to say that I am happy to have him (of course), but that i’m worried that this will bite the Nats going forward.
- Yet another example of Mike Rizzo a) picking up a player he originally drafted, and b) doing a deal with the devil, er I mean Scott Boras. At least the Nats aren’t on the hook for $30M/year clogging up their new “payroll ceiling,” whatever it is.
- Given the track record for starters going from the AL to the NL … i wonder if we’re about to see a season that looks something like this: 18-5, 2.20 ERA and 280 Ks in 220 innings. Scherzer’s already at 10.3 K/9 and now he gets to face the Pitcher, a weaker division in the NL East and no DHs. Can he get to 300 Ks?
How would you lineup our rotation? Probably Strasburg, Scherzer, Zimmermann, Gonzalez and Fister. You have to put the lefty in the middle of the rotation, right?
Is Roark wasted in middle relief? Yeah he is. But … now the team has its best 6th starter option in its bullpen ready to go, instead of calling up somebody from AAA. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
Are we still going to see another move? Maybe. Not so much driven by payroll, but by function. If the team is really fed up with negotiating with Zimmermann, then you move him for what you can now. And you’ve just replaced him like-for-like, for actually *less* money in 2015 than he was set to make (conveniently ignoring the $105M in “pension” payments Scherzer will be making for nearly a decade after he’s finished this contract).
Lets say the team does move Zimmermann; the 2015 rotation would be just as good as the 2014 rotation, but the team would presumably would have a couple more nearer-to-the-majors prospects received in return for Zimmermann. Not the worst situation to find our selves in, given the FA losses the team faces after 2015 and 2016 (3/5ths of its 2014 rotation). Scherzer bridges the gap and gives the team a solid guy for years to come as the next wave of starters makes its way to the majors (Cole, Giolito, Fedde, Lopez in perhaps that order).