The Los Angeles Dodgers have always known that if they want a return engagement with ace Max Scherzer, it’s going to cost them.
What they might not have known when they acquired him, though, is that the list of rivals champing at the bit to sign the 37-year-old righty away from LA this offseason will not include the Padres, the team Andrew Friedman blocked from making a season-changing deadline splash.
Instead, the Dodgers are reportedly battling it out with a rival far closer to their hearts, a team that spent the second half proving its hot April (and May, June and July…) was no mirage.
Yes, the NL playoff picture really has flipped pretty spectacularly from July 31.
All of a sudden, Scherzer decided to wake up the pitching market on Sunday by leaking that he’s among the big names who intends to sign ahead of the Dec. 1 lockout, earning himself an additional few months of security. He’s probably the biggest name who’ll come off the board in the coming days (by a wide margin), and as of now, it seems Scherzer’s decision will come down to a return to the Dodgers or a new leaf with the Giants, Angels or wild card Mets.
Dodgers battling Giants, Angels, Mets for Max Scherzer.
We’ve long known the worst-case scenario of Scherzer jumping ship to the Dodgers’ longest-serving rivals was a possibility. Guess we can be thankful that at least the Giants aren’t getting Verlander, too, as was once rumored?
The intriguing “finalist” here is the New York Mets, since they’re the name in the pile that most obviously indicates Scherzer will be eyeing one thing above all others while negotiating his final large MLB contract: money.
After all, his trade preference this summer was the west coast, and that’s likely his preference again this offseason, all things being equal. And, to be fair, who knows if he’s even really listening to the Mets as they yell in his direction?
If Scherzer gets serious with Steve Cohen, though, it’ll become obvious he’s willing to abandon all preconceived notions for the highest bidder.
Will the Angels finally learn to pursue the right breed of starting pitching and seal the deal? Will Scherzer grit his teeth and buy a new parka, saying farewell to the sun (again) in the process? Both of those options seem to be the least likely.
No, as we always assumed, this sweepstakes is going to come down to the Dodgers and Giants, and it’s all going to end surprisingly soon before a few months of silence.