The NL West is one of the most competitive divisions in baseball this year. One of the three teams in contention—the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, or San Francisco Giants—could make a big splash ahead of the trade deadline, with Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer available.
The Dodgers and Padres have been in something of an arms race over the last year. L.A. has one of the most talent-heavy rosters in the league and is coming off of the 2020 World Series, while San Diego inked Fernando Tatis Jr. to a huge 14-year extension, and traded for Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Joe Musgrove, and signed other pieces like Ha-Seong Kim, and a number of other quality roleplayers.
Meanwhile, both trail the San Francisco Giants, a team coming off of a sub-.500 shortened 2020 season. The Giants’ collection of wily veterans are 62-37—two games up on the Dodgers and 5.5 up on the Padres—good for the best record in baseball.
According to Mark Feinsand, if Scherzer is traded, he prefers a West Coast team. With his no-trade clause, that is significant. It’s unclear if the Oakland Athletics or Seattle Mariners, both in the AL West playoff hunt, would make an aggressive move, but the NL West teams all seem like prime candidates.
It remains to be seen if Max Scherzer will be traded, but a source said the pitcher “strongly prefers the West Coast” to waive his no-trade clause. Given the state of the NL West, he could be the difference-maker in that race if he landed with the Dodgers, Giants or Padres.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 27, 2021
ESPN’s Jeff Passan says that league executives see the Dodgers and Giants as “perfect fits” for Max Scherzer. He mentions the Padres, though he thinks the team may be a bit less willing to take on Scherzer’s contract, which would be inflated due to the team’s luxury tax concerns, without moving money out as well.
Passan also believes the Tampa Bay Rays, the defending AL champs with one of baseball’s best records, could also get involved. It’s unclear if Scherzer is West Coast or bust, or if he’s be willing to head to the AL East with a strong chance to play for a World Series. Taking on Scherzer’s salary would also balloon the Rays’ famously small payroll, though the team has been very aggressive so far this year.
Complicating matters a bit is Scherzer’s recent missed start due to triceps discomfort. It is unclear how that will affect his market.
Scherzer is 7-4 on the season, with a 2.83 ERA. In 105 innings, he has 142 strikeouts to just 25 walks. His 0.886 WHIP is currently a career best.
The MLB Trade Deadline is coming up at 4 p.m. ET on Friday.