Rumors that free agent right-handed pitcher Max Scherzer may be headed to the Washington Nationals for a seven-year deal began going around Sunday afternoon. First reported by SB Nation's Chris Cotillo, at least one other team is believed to be in the mix.
Sources: Increasing sense throughout league that Max Scherzer will end up with #Nationals. Unclear if deal is close.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) January 18, 2015
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports provided the update regarding additional teams being in the mix, which included the years. Scherzer, who became a free agent at the conclusion of the 2014 season, is expected to reach a decision within the next few days.
scherzer likely to have deal with a team soon. nats, 1 other believed in mix. @ChrisCotillo said he'll likely end up a nat— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 18, 2015
scherzer talking to a couple teams about 7-year deal, nats among them.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 18, 2015
Currently, the Nationals have Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Doug Fister, Gio Gonzalez, and Tanner Roark as their starting-five. If Scherzer were to join the Nationals, he would undoubtedly become their top starter and some rearranging would be in order. Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports noted that the Nationals have been in Zimmerman trade talks with "multiple teams" for the past few weeks.
The Tigers have been silent on the Scherzer front, but as this would be an ownership decision, owner Mike Ilitch could step in and offer a deal beyond what other teams have. Such was the case when the Tigers signed Prince Fielder to a record nine-year, $214 million deal in 2012.
Scherzer is seeking a long-term deal in the $200 million-range and the Nationals would be a good fit for the team if they opted to spend the money. With most rotation spots filled, signing Scherzer would be a game-changing starter to any team, not just another acquisition.
The Tigers offered Scherzer a six-year, $144 million deal in the spring of 2014, which he turned down in order to pursue free agency, something Scott Boras' clients are known to do. Meanwhile, several reports have indicated that the Tigers have maintained their stance that they are not actively involved in pursuing the right-hander.