With the offseason underway, the Los Angeles Dodgers have yet to make a big splash or any significant move that will help them in 2015.
As the days go by, we will take a look at potential free agents that the Dodgers could pursue and decide whether they would be a fit in Los Angeles. Today, we begin with a big-name free agent pitcher.
Max Scherzer rejected a long-term deal from the Detroit Tigers after his 2013 Cy Young campaign and now sits to receive a big contract after another strong season. The right-hander went 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA and 252 strikeouts in 33 starts for the Tigers.
Why The Dodgers SHOULD Sign Him
Scherzer is just 30 years old and is coming off consecutive dominant seasons in the American League. While any pitcher is susceptible to injury, Scherzer has been able to make at least 30 starts in the past six seasons. He has continued to improve and should continue to master his craft. A move to the NL West would do wonders for Scherzer as well, given that the teams aren’t as offensively efficient as the AL and the fact that most stadiums in the division are pitcher-friendly.
The Dodgers have one of the best trios in all of baseball in their rotation and could make that a quartet by signing Scherzer. He would add balance to the rotation, joining Zack Greinke as the other right-hander in that quartet. His signing would push Dan Haren to the fifth starter, giving the Dodgers one of the best overall rotations in the MLB. Signing Scherzer would also give every pitcher a bit more rest throughout the season, as the team would not be reliant on the top two guys.
After seeing how Clayton Kershaw was forced to pitch a Game 4 in the postseason because of the questions surrounding an inconsistent Haren, the Dodgers could decide to bring in another All-Star quality starting pitcher to give them a formidable rotation for a postseason series. Adding Scherzer pushes Hyun-Jin Ryu to a potential Game 4 and gives the Dodgers much more confidence in letting Kershaw pitch on normal rest.
Why The Dodgers SHOULD NOT Sign Him
First thing people will mention about signing Scherzer will be the loss of a draft pick that comes with any deal. The Tigers extended a qualifying offer to the right-hander and the Dodgers would lose their first-round pick. With their new front office, the Dodgers could decide to focus on the draft and building from within, meaning they could decide against free agents that cost them potential prospects.
Scherzer has been durable in his career, but did miss some starts in 2014 due to shoulder inflammation. He was able to overcome the irritation and finish out the season and postseason; however, committing big money to a pitcher with shoulder inflammation could cause some skepticism. While it wasn’t considered a big deal, the Dodgers have seen Ryu deal with the issue and miss some starts.
With Scott Boras as his agent, the Dodgers could be forced to pay a heft amount for the former Cy Young winner. While the team hasn’t said they are trying to reduce the payroll, it also doesn’t seem that they are inclined to increase the payroll with another big contract. Greinke does have the chance to opt out of his deal after the 2015 season, so Scherzer could become an insurance policy, but another big contract could handicap the Dodgers in the future. Dealing with Boras isn’t the most pleasant experience as well.
Potential Contract/Chances Of Landing In LA
Scherzer is in line for a big payday after turning down six years and $144 million last offseason. That essentially becomes the ground floor of any potential deal, and could be pushed to seven years with an opt-out after four years.
The chances that Scherzer is in a Dodger uniform in 2015 is low at the moment, considering there haven’t been any rumors linking the two sides. Of course, the NL West champions are still in the process of figuring out their front office situation and could still be discussing a plan of attack. It’s about a 15% chance at the moment.