Jeff Spiegel (@JeffSpiegel)
I’ll preface my thoughts with the idea that I wouldn’t pay either what they’re asking for (if given the choice). However, given that the question implies I have to pick one, I think I would take Scherzer.
For starters, he’s younger (30, compared to 33-year-old Shields), and, to put it simply, he’s just been better the past two years. With almost 500 strikeouts to go along with a WAR of 12.7, an ERA of 3.02 and a WHIP of 1.07, Scherzer has been fantastic. While Shields has been good for longer (four-straight really good seasons), he just hasn’t been as dominant.
Scherzer is a No. 1, Shields is probably a No. 2 on an elite team. With Zack Greinke potentially opting out after the 2015 season, Scherzer would be a much better replacement — even if it cost an extra $50 million over six years.
Matthew Moreno (@MMoreno1015)
Looks like this is a unanimous decision. As everyone has already stated, Scherzer is the better pitcher of the two and if the Dodgers are going to spend the money and lose a first-round pick in the 2015 draft then they might as well go out and get the best talent available.
As previously stated, it’s important to keep in mind Greinke potentially opting out after the season. He’ll turn 32 years old on Oct. 21 and needing to re-sign him to a long-term deal may not be the wisest of decisions.
Furthermore, Scherzer has fared better in the postseason than Shields. See his 4-3 record (12 games; 10 starts), 3.73 ERA and 1.13 WHIP to Shields’ 3-6 record (11 starts), 5.46 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. For as great as Clayton Kershaw is, the jury is still out on his ability to pitch well in October.
With a quartet of Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu and Scherzer, the Dodgers conceivably wouldn’t be forced to start any of their pitchers on short rest, and Brandon McCarthy suddenly bolsters the bullpen if a long reliever/swingman is needed.