Max Scherzer
The Los Angeles Dodgers have made a splash this winter, but in a much different way than years past.

Instead of spending hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the team, the new front office has done their part on the trade front. There’s a new duo up the middle in the infield, a new back end of the rotation and a few new faces in the bullpen. Whether the team is better than the 94-win, NL West champions remains to be seen, but it is a different team.

Despite all the moves, there’s still a feeling that the Dodgers are lacking that power move that has been prominent in the Guggenheim Era. The cabinets are pretty bare in terms of position players or relievers that can make a significant difference, but there’s one potential crown jewel left on the starting pitching market.

Max Scherzer.

Yes, the same Max Scherzer that won the Cy Young in 2013 and has reportedly been asking for over $200 million. The same guy that has been an All-Star and won 39 games the past two seasons. Potentially the same guy that can turn the Dodgers from contenders to World Series favorites.

Now if the Dodgers don’t sign Scherzer this winter, it won’t be the end of the world. A rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brandon McCarthy and possibly Brett Anderson is no slouch. That’s definitely a top-five rotation for 2015. BUT how much better is a rotation of Kershaw, Greinke, Scherzer, Ryu and McCarthy?

Much better.

Friedman and the crew are reportedly trying to lower payroll, but that’s never been confirmed by any of them. What they have been doing is improving the team, making sensible signings and cutting dead weight. A team looking to cut payroll wouldn’t cut Brian Wilson and the $10 million he is owed. What the Dodgers are doing is being smarter about their investments. A deal for Scherzer is definitely a risky one considering the amount of money it would cost and the rash of injuries to pitchers that has taken over baseball in recent years, but it’s also an investment that can pay off in the form of a World Series title.

For the money that it would take to sign the right-hander, the Dodgers would be spending on one of the more durable aces in the game. He’s made at least 30 starts in the past six seasons. In those six years, he’s had an ERA under 4.00 four times and won at least 15 games in four of those years. Scherzer has cleared 230 strikeouts in the past three seasons and has a combined 12.7 WAR the past two seasons.

All signs point to Scherzer being the real deal and worth the cost. So what are the downsides?

Well, Scherzer is 30 years old and is seeking at least a six-year commitment. Will a 36-year-old Scherzer be effective enough for $25+ million? Possibly, but likely not. However, by the time 2020 is here that amount of money could turn out to be a bargain.

Scherzer missed a few starts last season due to shoulder inflammation that could be troublesome in the future. Any pitchers’ next pitch can be their last pitch for a season, and shoulder inflammation is quite common among pitchers. Ryu went on the disabled list twice last season because of it, and still had a strong season. Scherzer has thrown over 450 innings (including postseason) since 2013, and the inflammation can be handled with a change in offseason workout and training regimen.

While it hasn’t been said, will Scherzer be willing to be the third man in the rotation? Money talks and if he gets the deal he is seeking, then it won’t matter where in the rotation he falls. Being able to play for a World Series contender and joining the likes of Kershaw and Greinke should outweigh any potential pride issue.

The Dodgers are being very mindful of the future with their recent moves and that’s something they must consider with Scherzer. Greinke has an opt-out clause after this year and could decide to leave Los Angeles for a bigger payday somewhere else. That leaves a large void in the rotation that won’t likely be filled by anyone in the farm system. Scherzer could give the Dodgers a security blanket in case Greinke does leave.

In the past two years, the Dodgers have been on the cusp of a World Series, only to fall short. Both years Kershaw was forced to pitch on short rest in the playoffs because the back of the rotation has been suspect. Ryu in Game 4 is much different than Ricky Nolasco or Dan Haren in Game 4. This move not only helps out in the regular season, but also in October.

So while the Dodgers seem to be cautiously spending, it’s time for one more power move to solidify the rotation and take that extra step needed to win their first championship since 1988.

About The Author

Vince is currently the Associate Editor and Social Media Manager for Dodgers Nation. Hailing from San Pedro, CA and a student at Cal State Long Beach, Vince has previously written for the Daily 49er and LASF Magazine.

14 Responses

  1. Mike Kane

    No to Scherzer – trade Pederson and a couple of other MiLB players to Phillies for Hamels.

    Reply
    • Robert Groh

      And have an outfield of Ethier, Crawford and Van Slyke? No thank you.

      Reply
      • Michael N. Norris

        You forgot Puig…….Pederson is no lock to make the roster anyway…..BUT….I am against Hamels because it makes your rotation lefty heavy….But I am not sold on Scherzer being a NL pitcher either

    • Michael N. Norris

      I would trade Joc, for the right deal, but they want Seager and Urias too….ain’t happening

      Reply
  2. larryball

    Scherzer was already struggling to put guys away last year – Anybody else around here ever heard of a gut named Verlander? But it’s not my money so if they want to win they ought to get everybody regardless of price.

    Reply
  3. Brian Keefe

    Scherzer will not be a good contract no matter who signs him. I don’t believe he will adjust well to a certain, perpetual drop in velocity.

    Reply
  4. @djlbroker

    Fantasy League player’s opinions mean nothing. They are devoid of actual baseball team knowledge.

    The joy of baseball is season after season – not just “this year”. Real baseball fans want championships – but we want the experience of team building and rooting for ” our team – prospects, veterans, and clutch bench strength”.

    If you don’t know real baseball then go root on some soccer team and keep your mouth’s shut.

    Sincerely,

    A Real Dodger fan from Los Angeles.

    Reply
  5. Mike

    Lower payroll?
    Why would billionaires be concerned over $200,000,000?

    Reply
  6. Daniel Hart

    Here is a crazy thought we are going to lose greinke after the season so sign this guy and then trade greinke for a ransom

    Reply
  7. CoastW

    Your headline had me going until I saw the word “must”.

    Reply
  8. TimeisIllmatic

    They can go after Zimmermann and Price next off season especially if Greinke is going to opt-out which is what it seems like.

    Reply
  9. Mike

    30 year old pitcher for six years for $200,000,000.
    Someone is on crack if they think that’s a good move.

    Reply

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