Mutual interest between Max Scherzer, St. Louis Cardinals
There is reportedly mutual interest between All-Star starting pitcher Max Scherzer and the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Cardinals have been connected to Max Scherzer for months. It’s a perfect fit, at least on paper, with Scherzer growing up in the St. Louis area and the team needing rotation upgrades.
The acquisition cost to acquire Scherzer has always made a reunion unlikely. But there is mutual interest between Scherzer and the Cardinals, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who adds that “it becomes a question of cost, length of commitment and whether the Cardinals can outbid other suitors.”
This is where it becomes tricky. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic recently wrote that Scherzer is looking for a three-year deal and will want a record-setting average annual value. This is speculation, and nothing more than that, but it’s possible that the price to sign him is as much as $40 million per season. If that’s indeed the case, he’s looking at a three-year, $120 million deal.
Is that something the Cardinals will do? Most likely not. It would drain them of all their financial flexibility both this season and in the upcoming seasons. It would mean not adding an impact reliever or adding another bat to a lineup that could use further reinforcements.
But if there is ever a player to make an exception, it’s Scherzer. He’s as much of a sure-thing as they come, but even then, he comes with questions after dealing with arm fatigue late in the season. His production, however, was elite with the Los Angeles Dodgers – 1.98 ERA, 89/8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 11 starts – and further built his case of being a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Adding Scherzer makes the Cardinals an instant World Series contender. Signing him could influence Nolan Arenado not to opt out after the 2022 season. But signing Scherzer would make it tougher to extend Jack Flaherty, so there is give-and-take here.
Ultimately, it’s still unlikely that Scherzer ends up with the Cardinals. But it seems like the idea of the right-hander pitching in St. Louis is more realistic than once thought.