UPDATE (Jan. 18, 3:05 p.m. PT): According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Los Angeles Dodgers are not involved with Max Scherzer:
#Dodgers also not in on Scherzer.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 18, 2015
In what’s been a relatively quiet free agency for both Max Scherzer and James Shields has suddenly gained more traction and clarity with indications of what their respective deals may wind up as leaking.
With an already potent starting rotation, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reported Sunday the growing sentiment was the Washington Nationals would win the Scherzer sweepstakes:
Sources: Increasing sense throughout league that Max Scherzer will end up with #Nationals. Unclear if deal is close.
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) January 18, 2015
Shortly after Cotillo’s report, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports provided more details on the Scherzer free agency talks:
scherzer talking to a couple teams about 7-year deal, nats among them.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 18, 2015
While signing Scherzer would give them arguably the most formidable starting rotations, the Nationals would be open to trading a starter, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports:
#Nats prepared to trade starter if they sign Scherzer. Zimmermann most likely candidate but one source says Nats would listen on Strasburg.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 18, 2015
As for Shields, it’s believed he’s hoping to sing a five-year deal while teams have favored a four-year contract at a considerably less total value, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports:
James Shields has been seeking a 5 year $125 million contract while teams have been discussing more in the 4 year, $80 million range.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 18, 2015
Unless Shields is in fact able to secure a contract in the neighborhood of $125 million, he may regret passing on a $110 million offer, as some believed he held just under two weeks ago.
While the Dodgers have been mentioned as a potential landing spot for either of the right-handers, it’s difficult to envision them committing to Scherzer for seven years, no matter general manager Farhan Zaidi recently leaving open the possibility of signing either pitcher.
Under that scenario, the Dodgers signing Shields, though three years older than Scherzer, for four years may be a more-likely probability, but that certainly comes with its own share of concerns.
Although the Dodgers bolstered their starting rotation this offseason, a handful of pitchers have some level of injury concerns with Zack Greinke among them. Greinke also holds the power to opt out of his contract after the 2015 season.
If the Dodgers are to sign Scherzer or Shields, they would forfeit their first-round pick in the upcoming 2015 draft.