Max Scherzer Sweepstakes: Do the St. Louis Cardinals have a chance?


In his latest blog, ESPN senior writer Buster Olney breaks down the team-by-team chances of landing free agent pitcher Max Scherzer.

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In talking about the Cardinals’ chance of signing the St. Louis native, Olney reminds everyone that the Cardinals are the very same franchise that let “future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols walk away for the sake of payroll management.”

If the Cardinals weren’t willing to pay some $250 million to resign Pujols, why would they pay north of $150 million? Scherzer had the opportunity to remain with the Detroit Tigers but rejected the $144 million contract extension. Is this a ploy by agent Scott Boras to get the pitcher closer to $200 million? It’s hard to say. What we know by now is that not a single team has signed Scherzer and that may remain the case for a while.

The Cardinals are guaranteed to start the 2015 season with a rotation consisting of Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, John Lackey, and one of Carlos Martinez or Marco Gonzales. Does this look like a team that really needs a pitcher like Scherzer? Not really. The Cardinals don’t need Scherzer to be successful in the 2015 season.

Olney writes:

"Sure, they’ve had multiyear deals with Chris Carpenter and others, but the biggest outlay ever for a pitcher was their five-year, $97.5 million contract with Wainwright. Signing Scherzer might require something close to double that, and the reality is that the Cardinals aren’t starving for a pitcher like Scherzer. They might have rotation issues, and they are playing in a division inhabited by improving teams such as Pittsburgh and the Cubs, but they don’t have to have Scherzer for credibility."

Should the Cardinals have rotation issues, they will worry about it when it reaches that point. They should not break the bank to get the last remaining big free agent pitcher on the market.