What if the St. Louis Cardinals signed Max Scherzer? A deal was never going to happen, but he would have transformed the rotation.
Of course, you all heard the rumors and dots connecting Max Scherzer and the Cardinals this offseason. With Scherzer from the St. Louis area and the team needing a frontline starting pitcher, a fit made a lot of sense for both sides.
According to reports, it was something that interested Scherzer and the Cardinals. But the price tag – a multi-year deal that was expected to be the most lucrative for a pitcher in baseball history – always made an agreement unlikely. Indeed, with Steve Cohen and his endless pockets bidding on Scherzer, the right-hander signed a three-year, $130 million contract with the New York Mets.
There was no way that the Cardinals were going to offer such a contract. But with Scherzer and the Mets coming to St. Louis, it provides an interesting question to ponder: what if he signed with the Cardinals?
Well, the rotation would be looking a LOT better than it is now. Jack Flaherty is out indefinitely with a TK injury while Jordan Hicks has been thrust into the rotation and Dakota Hudson has struggled in limited time. To be fair, Adam Wainwright has remained his typical steady self atop the rotation and Steven Matz has bounced back nicely following a bad first outing.
But Scherzer would have given the Cardinals an unquestioned ace for the next three seasons and put them in the conversation with the Dodgers to represent the National League in the World Series. Just look at his numbers this season: 3-0, 2.50 ERA, 23/7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 18 innings. Sure, the walk rate is higher than his career average, but even at age-37 he has shown no signs of slowing down.
A rotation featuring Scherzer, Wainwright and Flaherty (when healthy) would have given the Cardinals a trio of starters in the same conversation as the Brewers’ Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta. Of course, signing Scherzer would have meant no Steven Matz and would have limited their other offseason moves, and it was clear throughout the winter that the Cardinals wanted to improve the depth throughout the roster.
It always made Scherzer to the Cardinals unlikely, if not impossible. But with him returning to St. Louis as a member of the Mets, it makes you wonder “What if?”