What the Nationals’ Signing of Max Scherzer Means for the Yankees


$210 million, seven years (actually over 14 years with the money half deferred, according to multiple reports). This is the amount that Max Scherzer was able to obtain from the Washington Nationals in free agency. Is he worth this money? Probably not. Surprisingly though, a team other than the New York Yankees overpaid for him.

Superstar agent Scott Boras was able to convince teams that Scherzer can still continue to be a top flight pitcher. He gave Scherzer to the top bidder, which happened to be the Nationals. Scherzer was coming off a very good year, going 18-5 and registering 252 strikeouts with a 3.19 ERA. This would be an amazing season for almost any other pitcher not named Clayton Kershaw.

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However, Scherzer had an even better year in 2013, taking home the Cy Young after going 21-3 with an incredible 2.90 ERA. The years before, he was solid, but not as dominant as in 2013 and 2014. So how was Boras able to get Scherzer seven-years and $210 million at the age of 30 coming off only 2 great seasons? Because you can never have too much starting pitching in the MLB.

The Yankees sure could have used another top-of-the-rotation starter, but I believe they made the right choice by not overpaying for Scherzer. They are already stuck with the contracts of players appearing to be on the decline, namely Alex Rodriguez and C.C. Sabathia. True, their current pitching staff is full of question marks, but another ridiculous contract is the last thing they need.

So now the big question: What does the signing of Scherzer mean for the Yankees?

Unfortunately, it will not mean any good news for this offseason. Scherzer re-adjusted the market value for top pitchers, and this likely means that free agents will command more money. James Shields, a solid free agent still available, will now make more money than had he signed before the Scherzer deal was done. This likely will have priced him out of the Yankees plans, if they want to maintain some semblance of a budget (knowing their history, probably not).

This also has an effect on future free agent Jordan Zimmerman. Zimmerman is scheduled to be a free agent next winter, and if he can have another good year, then he too, will want (and get) elite money. Zimmerman is younger than Scherzer and would be coming off of 3 great seasons next summer if he has a good 2015. This could net him more years and money than Scherzer.

Before Scherzer signed with the Nats, I didn’t care whether or not the Yankees went after him. I thought he would end up being another overpaid declining pitcher three years from now. I was much more open to the prospect of signing Zimmerman next year and playing this year out with the current staff, or signing a middle-of-the-rotation starter.

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There were also rumors that the Nationals had financial concerns, and that they now may be looking to trade Zimmerman or Doug Fister. Whether the Yankees go out and trade for one of these pitchers remains to be seen. Trading for either one would be smart, as long as the Yankees can lock them up and don’t give up their entire farm system. They could afford to trade one of their young catchers in a package because Brian McCann isn’t going anywhere.

What does Scherzer to the Nationals mean for the Yanks? It means no big contract (for at least this year), more flexibility, and possibly a transition phase from the big-spending to wise-spending.

A+ Yankees, good job.

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