The Nationals have placed Max Scherzer on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to June 12) with groin inflammation. pic.twitter.com/YUij4aQcRj
— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) June 15, 2021
Although the injury does not seem to be serious, it’s possible that the IL stint might cost the Nationals some trade value if they decide to deal their veteran superstar.
Scherzer is in his seventh season with the Nationals and has been lights-out at every turn.
Max Scherzer’s fastball sounds like an shotgun going off 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/Iz2bPuIYAX
— Baseball Quotes (@BaseballQuotes1) February 28, 2020
He has managed a career ERA of 2.76 with Washington.
For his entire MLB career, he’s posted a 3.18 ERA.
He has led the league in wins four times, WHIP four times, strikeouts three times, and is a three-time Cy Young Award winner.
From 2013 to 2019, he finished in the top five of the Cy Young race each year.
He has had a historic career and is well on his way to the Hall of Fame.
That’s what makes the idea of Scherzer being traded so alarming, but it’s almost certain to happen.
His contract is up at the end of the 2021 season, and with the Nationals going nowhere this year, it seems like a sure thing that he gets traded to a contending team.
It’s possible (if the injury sidelines him for long enough) that we’ve even seen Scherzer in a Nationals uniform for the final time.
Now, it should be made clear that the Nationals aren’t going to trade Scherzer for nothing.
While dealing him is the right thing to do, it may damage their shot at re-signing him in the offseason.
The Nationals are going to want a return that justifies that risk.
All things considered (like the expiring contract and the groin injury), what would be a fair asking price for the seven-time All-Star?
Idea No. 1: A 1-for-1 Pitcher Swap
The Nationals are going to need some major rotation help going forward if they don’t bring Scherzer back next season.
Right now, the team has just two starters with an ERA below 4.00.
Flipping Scherzer’s expiring deal into a quality starter who is under club control for several seasons seems like a fair swap.
Domingo German comes to mind as an example.
He is not a free agent until 2025.
German, 28, has a 3.88 ERA over 12 starts this season.
He fits in as a solid back-of-the-rotation arm for any club, so the Nationals would have to feel pretty good about having a player of his caliber under control for several seasons.
The New York Yankees, on the other hand, might not be so quick to let go of a young talent like German, but if they’re all in on salvaging their 2021 season, well, replacing German with Scherzer is undeniably a net positive purely in the context of this season.
Idea No. 2: Prospect Haul
The Nationals could use serious help in the farm system.
MLB.com thinks the organization has the worst farm in all of baseball, and it’s hard to disagree.
Trading Scherzer for two or three quality prospects could do wonders for the farm.
Of course, the Nationals would want high-upside guys.
That’s going to be the minimum whenever you’re talking about a generational talent like Scherzer.
This sort of trade package is never the most appealing one to fans, but it often pays off in the long run.
It also feels like the most likely outcome at this point.