Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - One name you didn't hear mentioned a whole lot at Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings last week was right- hander Max Scherzer.
Actually let me correct that. You heard his name from his agent, Scott Boras, who, in his annual scrum with the media, pointed out just how much of a better pitcher Scherzer was than someone like Jon Lester.
Oh and you also heard through the grapevine that Scherzer would likely be seeking a contract in the $200 million range.
But as far as actual teams with an interest in Scherzer? Nope. Not a single one. In fact you were able to cross off some potential destinations, as the Chicago Cubs took themselves out of the mix considering they gave Lester six years and $155 million. And Scherzer's old team, the Detroit Tigers, came out publicly and stated they are no longer in the mix for him.
So, who exactly is going to sign Scherzer?
Well, as you would suspect, there are still some options for the former AL Cy Young Award winner.
Obviously the New York Yankees have been the team most often linked with Scherzer, but their general manager, Brian Cashman, stated on Tuesday that Yankee fans probably won't see Scherzer pitch for them in 2015.
But this is also the same guy who insisted he wanted to get under the luxury- tax threshold last winter and wound up spending nearly half a billion dollars. So, take what Cashman says with a grain of salt.
The Yankees make sense for a number of reasons. One, they have no problem spending money and two, they could use another starter, particularly a No. 1 given the health concerns of both Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia.
But if they do go in on Scherzer that would give them three pitchers that make over $150 million, provided, of course, Scherzer gets that much.
Spoiler Alert: He will.
As much as everyone likes to say the Yankees just throw money at everyone they have become somewhat financially responsible the last couple of years. They held their ground with Robinson Cano last offseason and it's hard to imagine them going seven years on a pitcher. Even someone as good as Scherzer,
If memory serves me correctly, they seem to have been burned by a long contract recently. Someone whose name rhymes with Schmalex Schrodiguez comes to mind.
The Boston Red Sox desperately need a front of the line starter as well. But, if they wanted to break the bank on a pitcher, wouldn't it have made more sense for them to give it to Lester?
Boston has acquired a bunch of third starters this offseason. They need a No. 1. Scherzer would certainly fit the bill, but not at his asking price.
People can throw the Los Angeles Dodgers out there all they want, I just don't see it. Forget the Yankees having three $150 million pitchers, do the Dodgers really want two $200 million pitchers?
But, they were one of the teams that were linked to Lester and they have supposedly made overtures to the Philadelphia Phillies concerning left-hander Cole Hamels so they are looking for another starter, even after signing Brandon McCarthy.
Here's why the Dodgers may make some sense. Forget the money part of it for a second. Righty Zack Greinke can become a free agent at the end of the season. Maybe they give Scherzer the money and pair him with Kershaw, giving them one of the sickest 1-2 combos the league has ever seen.
I guess it could happen. That is an awful lot of money on that roster, though, if that happens.
San Francisco is also in the market for another starter. But Scherzer's price tag is probably a little too rich for it.
Now let's be honest, Scherzer isn't getting $200 million. He'll probably fall in the seven-year, $175 million range, give or take.
The team that could be laying in the weeds here are the Washington Nationals.
Yes they have a ton of pitching, but Jordan Zimmermann is a free agent at the end of 2015. Plus Boras and the Nationals always seem to do business. Washington could bring Scherzer in, deal Zimmermann, which has been rumored anyway, and restock that way.
My guess ... I am not buying Cashman's bluff. And I don't think Boras or anyone else is either. Pay attention. The American League East has gotten worse this winter, not better. Scherzer could be a difference maker for the Yanks, Red Sox, or even the Baltimore Orioles for that matter.
Think about it. Let's say Tanaka is injured and can't pitch, who is the best pitcher in that division? Chris Tillman?
Scherzer could certainly tip the scales in someone's favor.
You may not like Boras' tactics, but more often than not, he gets his clients paid. And like it or not, Scherzer is going to get paid.