Why Max Scherzer considered the St. Louis Cardinals this offseason

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Max Scherzer #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the ninth inning in game 5 of the National League Division Series at Oracle Park on October 14, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Max Scherzer #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the ninth inning in game 5 of the National League Division Series at Oracle Park on October 14, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Max Scherzer considered the St. Louis Cardinals this offseason — and a lot of it has to do with his preference to play near the east coast.

Entering the offseason, it was clear that the St. Louis Cardinals were going to have interest in Max Scherzer. Quickly, it was revealed that the interest between the two sides was mutual.

It was always considered a longshot, with the belief that Scherzer would maintain his preference at the trade deadline: playing for a west coast team. Oh, were we wrong. Scherzer signed with the New York Mets on a three-year, $130 million deal — and Jon Heyman of MLB Network says that the right-hander preferred playing on the east coast.

This is where the Cardinals come into play. As revealed by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Scherzer lives in the Jupiter, Fla. area and also has family that lives there. Goold later added that it was a “factor” in his decision, though there is no way that the Cardinals could have competed with what the Mets eventually signed Scherzer for.

Steven Matz, who the Cardinals signed for $44 million, is getting as much over four seasons as Scherzer is getting per season. The front office has shown an ability to spend – see: Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado’s contracts – but have never shown a willingness to spend over $40 million per season on a player.

It would have, quite frankly, destroyed their financial flexibility to address the remainder of the roster. They would not be able to sign an impact reliever. They wouldn’t have been able to sign a capable fourth outfielder. None of that would have been in play.

Would Scherzer have made a huge difference? Of course. He would have given them a top-5 duo atop the rotation alongside Jack Flaherty. But the rotation should still be very good with Flaherty, Adam Wainwright, Matz, Miles Mikolas and Dakota Hudson. It should at least get them to the playoffs — and potentially even further.

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For a moment, Scherzer was a possibility. Both he and the team considered bringing him home to St. Louis. But the price tag made it an extreme longshot from the beginning.

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