Before a war goes down in the comments, let me start with this.
I would love to see Max Scherzer back in Dodger blue. The Dodgers could certainly use him in their starting rotation in 2022. If he returns to the Dodgers, I’ll be ecstatic. Alright, so now that you know I’m not “Anti-Scherzer”, we can begin this article.
I don’t think the Dodgers should bring back Max Scherzer. I know, that’s quite the hot take. Allow me to explain.
Scherzer is still considered to be one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. He’ll likely be a finalist for the National League Cy Young Award. Hell, he might end up winning the damn award. He’s proven that he’s still got it and would make any starting rotation that much better.
With that being said, we need to be realistic. Scherzer is going to be 38 years old next season. I know he’s shown he’s still capable of pitching at a high level, but father time is undefeated. We also saw Scherzer slow down significantly towards the end of last season.
After a crazy start to his Dodgers tenure, Scherzer came back down to earth during the final week of the season. Over his last two regular season starts, he allowed 10 runs on 17 hits in only 10 1⁄3 innings of work.
He was solid in the postseason, posting a 2.16 ERA in 16 2⁄3 innings of work. His best outing was in Game 3 of the NLDS, when he went seven innings and allowed one run with 10 strikeouts. Scherzer only went 4 1⁄3 innings in each of his other two starts, though. He was expected to take the mound for LA in Game 6 of the NLCS, but he was unable to go due to muscle fatigue.
Earlier in the series, Scherzer said his arm felt dead. At the age of 37, that’s certainly the last thing you’d like to hear.
He came out of the bullpen to close Game 5 of the NLDS against the Giants. He was LA’s best option to win the series, but it looked like it came at a price, as Scherzer pitched only 4 1⁄3 innings in the six games that followed.
So, his health moving forward is definitely one thing that concerns me. Sure, he can still pitch at a high level, but I think his health is something we all need to monitor for the 2022 campaign.
Onto the next reason I’m hesitant to bring him back. The contract.
The Dodgers knew when they traded for Scherzer that he would be a free agent following the season. If the Dodgers have any interest in bringing him back, it’s going to cost them. And it looks like it’s going to cost them big-time.
Here are some of the latest contract projections for Scherzer:
Fangraphs / 3 years, $96 million
The Athletic / 3 years, $150 million
MLB Trade Rumors / 3 years, $120 million
The money varies, but those three outlets believe that Scherzer will take a three-year deal. By the looks of it, the expectation is that he’ll receive at least $100 million in total, ranging as high as $150 million.
I think that guess from The Athletic is way too outlandish, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Scherzer finds an annual salary of nearly $40 million. We also need to remember that his agent is none other than Scott Boras, so we know he’ll be receiving a huge payday.
If that’s the case, that’s simply too much money for Scherzer, in my personal opinion.
With question marks surrounding Trevor Bauer, it’s unclear as to how much money the Dodgers will have to use on starting pitching this offseason. Whatever ends up happening, $40 million a year to Scherzer is just too much money, especially as he’s inching closer to the age of 40.
The Dodgers’ rotation next season is a huge question mark. As of right now, it looks like it’ll be Walker Buehler and Julio Urias at the top. Bauer is a question mark, Dustin May is expected to miss most of 2022 and Clayton Kershaw might not be back. That leaves names like Andre Jackson, Tony Gonsolin, David Price and potentially some minor-league names like Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot and Landon Knack.
To put it kindly, LA is in desperate need of starting pitching.
Again, just like I said earlier, I would welcome Scherzer back with open arms. However, I think there are smarter ways to spend the $40 million a year.
There are some really solid names on the free-agent market. Now, they might not be as good as Scherzer, but I would prefer the Dodgers to add depth to the rotation and potentially sign two of these names: Robbie Ray, Kevin Gausman, Marcus Stroman, Carlos Rodon, Jon Gray, Alex Cobb.
Depth is needed in the rotation, and adding two of those names as opposed to Scherzer might benefit the Dodgers more. Some of those names will require some decent contracts, but there’s some really valuable talent on the market this season.
In addition to free agents, the Dodgers could also get creative on the trade market as well and acquire some starting pitching that way. (Luis Castillo, anybody?)
Well, that’s all for me today. Again, I would love to see Scherzer back in the starting rotation for the Dodgers next season. He was fantastic on the mound and he was clearly making a difference in the clubhouse as well. I just don’t think bringing him back is a necessity. I’m just concerned with giving him an expensive contract, especially at his age and with what we saw at the end of the season.
The good thing with all of this is that it’s not my money, so if he signs for $100+ million I don’t lose a single cent. So there’s certainly that bonus.
It’ll be a wild offseason for the Dodgers, and I have no clue what we can expect.