I won’t freak out or anything here, since any team with short-term competitive aspirations should want Max Scherzer, and Scherzer, 37, probably wants any team with a good shot at winning in the short-term. It’s not a HUGE reveal that there could be a match here.
I don’t love thinking about it, though. From Derrick Goold at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “The interest in Max Scherzer is mutual, so it becomes a question of cost, length of commitment and whether the Cardinals can outbid other suitors.”
Scherzer is coming off a Cy Young finalist season when he showed, unequivocally, that he still has it after a midseason trade to the Dodgers. Get this: it was his first sub-5.5 WAR season since 2012(!), non-pandemic-season edition … and it was 5.4. He has been a model of consistency, dominance, and health. Though you expect some decline in his late-30s, he remains a very good bet to be a top-tier starting pitcher for another couple years at least. At worst, you might expect a little unavailability here and there (his last two full seasons have been shy of 180 innings, after a run of six straight 200+ innings seasons).
That is all to say, if the Cardinals added Scherzer, he would single-handedly be an enormous boost to their rotation. And if Jack Flaherty bounces back to full health, if Adam Wainwright keeps defying the aging curve, and if Dakota Hudson returns strong from Tommy John? That could be a rotation to rival that of the Brewers in the NL Central.
As for the finances, we know that Scherzer is going to be able to command a ridiculous deal. Three years at $40 million per year? Not at all out of the question. More? Yeah, I could see it. Not sure whether the Cardinals will go to that level, but the reality is, with maybe one final year of Wainwright/Yadi Molina, and with Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt in their 30s, this might be the best time for the Cardinals to really push in.
Like I said at the top, I’m not gonna freak out, but the fit and the impact here are … unnerving.
The Cardinals, you’ll note, are going to sign a starting pitcher or two. That’s just the reality of their needs and situation, so you can brace for it appropriately (Goold also mentions Marcus Stroman and Steven Matz, the latter of whom could sign this week, and has been connected to the Cubs). And if it winds up being Scherzer, well, I guess we’ll cross that bridge, emotionally speaking, if it ever comes.