Dodgers: Making the case for a blank check Max Scherzer extension

Adam Weinrib
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 04: Starting pitcher Max Scherzer #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates after striking out Chas McCormick of the Houston Astros for the last out of the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium on August 4, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 04: Starting pitcher Max Scherzer #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates after striking out Chas McCormick of the Houston Astros for the last out of the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium on August 4, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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If the Dodgers are going to continue to be called a “super team,” they might as well keep spending commensurate with the reputation.

Luckily, a target for 2022 and beyond (though not that far beyond) has just fallen into their lap, thanks to Andrew Friedman’s deadline maneuvering.

After a brief flirtation with the San Diego Padres that might’ve been less serious than initial reporting made it seem, Friedman managed to pull off a truly special deal that netted Los Angeles both Max Scherzer and Trea Turner for the remainder of 2021.

Turner will be in place for next year, too, and Scherzer should join him. Truly, the Dodgers have nothing to lose in laying their cards on the table.

Scherzer has already gone down as one of the greatest free agent acquisitions of all time for the team that signed him to a long-term deal.

Based on his 2021 season to date, it also seems likely that he’ll be a highly impactful addition for whatever team offers him his next two- or three-year contract. With their unlimited supply of cash, why shouldn’t that be the Dodgers?

The Dodgers should let Max Scherzer stay in California for however much money he wants. Blank check extension.

Scherzer’s new deal will be a short-term commitment by definition, and there certainly haven’t been any indicators yet that he’ll lose all effectiveness over the course of the next few seasons.

And, you know what, even if he does? Doesn’t much matter! What acquisition is he preventing? The short-term benefits greatly outweigh the probability he isn’t good (or great, or excellent) in 2023. You’ll almost never find a safer deal for an elite talent. Scherzer costs nothing but money, he wants to remain in place, and he doesn’t want to stay that long.

Those who came ready to crow about the Dodgers forming a “super team” certainly aren’t ready for the conversation, but LA clearly has a need for more starting pitching depth. No one knows if Trevor Bauer will return to the bigs. Clayton Kershaw’s injury concerns have escalated this season. Neither Tony Gonsolin or David Price can provide length right now, or presumably next year, and Dustin May won’t be available for quite a while. Josiah Gray swapped places with Scherzer.

The cupboard’s not bare, but it’s closer than it’s been.

Baseball fans seem to have a problem with teams extending themselves to add top talent. For some reason, they’re conditioned to accept their own ownership groups passing on impactful additions, and seem to believe this logic should apply to all teams. If the opportunity to maintain contact with Max Scherzer presents itself, and the pitching-needy Dodgers look the other way simply because he’s too luxurious, that would be a massive mistake.

Scherzer brings championship swagger and attitude to the bump each time he takes the field, and has maintained his ace-type stuff for this long. We can’t figure out any reason why it wouldn’t last another two years.

Luckily, that might be all it takes to keep him in Dodger Blue.

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