MLB…Crawl Out From The Fallout

Boom. Or, BOOM! The Washington Nationals dropped ‘The Big One’ and signed RHP Max Scherzer to a 7 year / $210M contract. Like I said…BOOM! Now let’s look at the effect of this megadeal on the baseball landscape.
I want to start first with the Washington Nationals. They are about to tie up $210M, in one player, for 7 years. I always thought that the contract given to Alex Rodriguez by the Texas Rangers (10 years / $252M) was, at the time, the biggest contract I had ever seen. I think that this one, right along with the 7 year /$215M that the Los Angeles Dodgers gave to Clayton Kershaw, may be bigger. This is essentially a $30M per year contract, but it really isn’t. The reason that it is not is that a huge chunk of this contract is in deferred money. Max Scherzer will be getting $15M per year for 14 years. This means that he will be getting checks from the Nationals until he is 44 years old. This ties up a bunch of money as far as the Nationals are concerned. Also, because Scherzer turned down a qualifying offer from the Detroit Tigers, the Nationals will forfeit the 27th overall pick in the next MLB draft. In acquiring Scherzer, many possibilities are present. The first is that the Nationals simply do nothing going forward, and they trot out a scary starting rotation. The Nationals starters would be Max Scherzer, Stephen Starsburg, Doug Fister, Jordan Zimmerman, and Gio Gonzalez, and for good measure, Tanner Roarke. That is an awesome arsenal, and the National League should be very wary of them. The second possibility is that the Nationals realize that they have an over-abundance of riches, and decide to move one of these pitchers for a MLB ready player whom they covet. They certainly have the trading chips to do that with now. The two most likely pitchers who could be moved are Jordan Zimmerman or Stephen Strasburg. It has been suggested that the Nationals are open to listening to offers for either of them.
Now, for the ripple effect on the rest of baseball. Max Scherzer was THE major deal that was waiting to get done. Many teams were thought to be in on him, and that number of teams fluctuated from day to day. Now that Scherzer is off the market, everybody else will now be scrambling for ‘Plan B’. This may come in the person of 33 year-old James Shields, who is still waiting for someone to meet his contract demand of 5 years / $110M. Until Scherzer signed, it was thought that the teams that were interested in Shields could simply wait him out until his price dropped because Scherzer was still in play. That option no longer exists, and that bodes well for Shields. There are several teams that will be in on Shields simply because he is the best option left out there. And Shields (and his agent) knows it. Shields may now get his price. All he needs to do now is sit back and wait for the phone to ring, and it will.
Now this is where the Hot Stove is really going to get smoking, as teams go in to scramble mode. Here are a few other deals that happened recently..
The Texas Rangers got Yovani Gallardo from the Milwaukee Brewers for three prospects. An interesting aspect about this move is that it possibly makes Milwaukee a player in the hunt for James Shields, as it clears $13M off of the Brewers payroll.
The Chicago Cubs acquired OF Dexter Fowler from the Houston Astros for infielder Luis Valbuena and RHP Dan Straily.
The San Francisco Giants reached agreement with OF Gregor Blanco on a $7.5 million, two-year contract to avoid arbitration.
See you all tomorrow!


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