While blockbuster deals were going down and Jon Lester was figuring out where to sign, a notable event at the Winter Meetings was overshadowed. Agent Scott Boras held court, answering questions from numerous reporters, most of whom were solely interested in finding out Boras’ asking price for Max Scherzer.
The 30-year old right-hander is widely regarded as the top remaining free agent pitcher and Boras has made it known that he will seek $200 million for his client. Scherzer, the 2013 AL Cy Young Award winner is coming of a 2014 campaign in which he compiled an 18-5 record and was named to his second consecutive All Star Game. For his performance the past two seasons, Max Scherzer has established himself as one of the elite starting pitchers in the Major Leagues today, but a strong argument can be made that he should not be a $200 million dollar man.
Over seven seasons in the bigs, the Missouri native has posted a 91-50 record with a 3.58 ERA, punching out 1,321 in 1239.1 innings. Lester, who signed a 6 year/ $155 million deal with the Cubs earlier this month is 116-67 for his career with an identical 3.58 ERA. The separation between the two men can be found in their postseason resumes. Lester owns a 2.57 ERA over 84 innings and has been lights out in the Fall Classic, going 3-0 with an ERA of 0.43. Scherzer posses a 3.73 postseason earned run average which is more than a full run higher than the southpaw Lester. Is there a $40 million or more difference between these two pitchers?
Although the righty who has spent the past five seasons in Detroit has made the All Star team in consecutive years and won a Cy Young Award, he never pitched to a level that would label him as an “ace.” He has posted a sub-three ERA once, in his Cy Young season and struggled to a 4.43 mark in 2011, followed up by a 3.74 clip in 2012 which was tied with Tommy Milone. Another factor is his age, the hurler is already on the flipside of thirty. There are not teams lining up to hand Scherzer the lucrative contract that he and Boras seek. Detroit has publicly said that the price may be too high. The Yankees are apparently not willing to shell out that kind of dough. St. Louis is shying away from the price tag and San Francisco, who missed out on Lester hasn’t been heavily involved in talks with Scherzer either. Nor have the Red Sox, who lack an “ace.”
The market for Scherzer is shrinking due to the expensive demands. It remains to be seen whether or not some team will make a jump at Scherzer for $200 million, or if the price will fall. As it stands, that price may be falling day by day. Unlike the Lester saga, there is no news, no bidding war, no pomp and circumstance. Numbers and current trends may argue that there is no $200 million future for Max Scherzer, but the jury remains out. Scott Boras always seems to find a way to get his demands met, and may be able to work his magic once again.