Every year, there are always a few surprising names that get tossed around in trade discussions. This year, Max Scherzer is one pitcher who could be moved before the trade deadline.
Before the season, most assumed the Washington Nationals would be in a contending position this year. However, they currently sit at the bottom of the NL East, leading some to ponder whether they could trade Scherzer, who will be a free agent this winter.
It’s fair to say that there’s no guarantee that the Nationals will trade Scherzer, who has a full no-trade clause and would need to approve a deal. Nevertheless, let’s take a closer look at each’s teams chances of working out a trade for Scherzer before summer.
Atlanta Braves: 5%
The Braves have fallen short of expectations this season. Part of the reason is they’ve suffered injuries to their starting rotation.
Obviously, Scherzer would help solve that problem and give them an ace to pair with Ian Anderson. In addition to the Nats perhaps not wanting to trade Scherzer within the division, the Braves need to get back in the playoff race on their own or it won’t be worthwhile to entertain the possibility of trading Scherzer.
Chicago Cubs: 5%
Before the season, some thought the Cubs would be sellers this summer. But they’ve exceeded expectations and now the NL Central is there for the taking.
Even with so many key players heading toward free agency this winter, the Cubs could decide to take one last shot at winning another championship and make a big splash at the deadline. That scenario doesn’t seem all that likely, but it’s not impossible.
New York Mets: 5%
The Mets don’t necessarily need an ace with Jacob deGrom on his way to another Cy Young Award. However, Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard have suffered setbacks, so the back end of the rotation has some questions. Ultimately, the Mets will likely target a mid-rotation starter rather than someone like Scherzer. But with the team under new ownership, there’s a little mystery around how aggressive the Mets will be at the trade deadline.
Boston Red Sox: 10%
It’s possible that the Red Sox will get Chris Sale back during the second half of the season. But whether he can immediately return to form is another matter.
The rest of the Boston rotation has been solid enough because the Red Sox can score a lot of runs. But the Red Sox won’t match up pitching-wise with a lot of teams in the playoffs. They could decide to go for it in 2021 and trade for Scherzer. If Sale comes back on top of that, Boston could become the favorite in the AL East.
Houston Astros: 10%
This is the team that traded for Justin Verlander at the deadline and Zack Greinke before that, so there’s no question the Astros will be aggressive if they think Scherzer is available via trade.
With Verlander unavailable this year, Houston could use a second ace to lead the rotation along with Greinke. Of course, the Houston rotation is in great shape with youngsters like Luis Garcia and Cristian Javier stepping up. But with the way the Astros can score runs, having Scherzer and Greinke in the postseason could make a huge difference.
Los Angeles Dodgers: 10%
No, you’re right, the Dodgers have so much pitching that they don’t really need Scherzer. But need and want are two different things in Los Angeles.
If the Nats start shopping Scherzer, the Dodgers would surely jump in the mix. If nothing else, they wouldn’t want a rival team trading for him.
For what it’s worth, they did lose Dustin May, so unless Tony Gonsolin can fill the void in the back of the rotation, the Dodgers would technically be in need of another starter.
New York Yankees: 15%
If need means anything, the Yankees will be the ones that end up with Scherzer.
With Corey Kluber on the IL and Luis Severino’s return delayed, the Yankees are in need of a frontline starter. They also need better pitching to make up for a lack of offense. Desperation is starting to set in for a team that many thought would cruise to the American League pennant, and so a big trade could be the solution, putting Scherzer and Gerrit Cole together at the top of the rotation.
Philadelphia Phillies: 5%
The Phillies are hanging around the playoff picture, so it’s possible that they become serious buyers at the trade deadline. They’ve been aggressive in recent years, which means they can’t be ruled out of the Scherzer sweepstakes entirely.
While they aren’t as desperate for pitching as some other teams, putting together next to Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola would make Philadelphia dangerous in the postseason if the Phillies can get there.
St. Louis Cardinals: 10%
Things are quickly falling apart for the Cardinals, who were favored to win the NL Central but might need to make a big move to get back on track.
Losing both Jack Flaherty and Miles Mikolas to long-term injuries has created a huge void in the rotation. Perhaps even more than the Yankees, the Cardinals need to add a frontline starter like Scherzer.
Toronto Blue Jays: 5%
We don’t often think of the Blue Jays as a team that makes blockbuster trades at the deadline. But Toronto’s lineup has them in the playoff picture, but the Jays still need some pitching.
Rookie Alek Manoah has impressed while Hyun Jin Ryu and Robbie Ray have carried the rotation. Adding Scherzer would be a huge boost for a team that surely has the prospects to entice the Nats to make a deal. However, would Scherzer approve a trade to the Blue Jays so he can pitch in a triple-A ballpark in Buffalo?
No Trade: 20%
There’s at least a reasonable chance that the Nationals won’t trade Scherzer, even if they have substantial offers for him.
For starters, the Nats could still play their way back into playoff contention. Also, the club may not want to ruin its chances of re-signing Scherzer if they trade him. It’s also worth remembering that Washington will likely offer Scherzer a qualifying offer, giving them an extra draft pick if they lose him in free agency.
Any trade for Scherzer will have to be more enticing than an extra draft pick, which could make the Nationals more likely to push up the asking price, making it more likely that he doesn’t get traded this summer.
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