Oct 1, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer (37) practices a pick off move to third base during workouts the day before game one of the 2014 ALDS at Oriole Park at Camden. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Heyman, a Baseball Insider for CBS Sports, wrote about his Top 50 free agents and where they could land this offseason. One player on this list is free agent Max Scherzer, and he has the Chicago White Sox as a possible surprise suitor.
In his article posted to cbssports.com on Monday, Heyman wrote the following about the former AL Cy Young Award winner in speaking about his next stop in the majors:
“The Cubs, Angels, Rangers and Dodgers are the biggest-spending ones. But could the White Sox, who have all lefty starters and a little spending money, pull a major surprise?”
"I’ve never considered Scherzer as a fit for the White Sox. Maybe it could happen, but I believe a lot would have to be done for it to ever occur … which is a long shot, to say the least."
The contract of John Danks would have to go, that is for certain. If that doesn’t happen, then there is no way I could see Scherzer becoming a member of the White Sox.
A plus for signing Scherzer would be he would be the right-handed pitcher in the order the White Sox really need, and to add him with Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and even Carlos Rodon would make for a very scary starting rotation.
Heyman feels whomever signs Scherzer will be spending around $175-180 million for the next seven years, which of course is really risky with any player, especially a pitcher.
I’m not sure if this would be an overall smart move by the White Sox … if this “surprise move” were even to happen.
This past season, Scherzer was 18-5 overall with a 3.15 ERA in 33 starts. Those numbers were down from his Cy Young season of 2013 where he was 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA in 32 starts.
But in that time frame, Scherzer improved his strikeout numbers each of the past three seasons, with over 200 strikeouts in those years. In ’12, he had 231 K’s, followed by 240 in ’13, and this past season he finished with 252 strikeouts.
His WHIP became worse from ’13 to ’14 but was still respectable, with a 0.970 in ’13 and 1.175 in ’14. His WAR (wins above replacement) went from 6.7 in ’13 to 6.0 in ’14. Before those two seasons, he never had a WAR better than 4.2.
In comparison, let’s look at the numbers of Chris Sale, the current ace of the White Sox. In ’13, Sale had a WAR of 6.9, and in ’14, it was 6.6. The ERAs of Sale the past two seasons have been 3.07 in ’13 and 2.07 in ’14 with 434 combined strikeouts in that same time frame (including 208 in 26 starts last season).
Sep 24, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (49) warms up before the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Sale’s WHIP in ’13 was 1.073, and in ’14, he finished at 0.966.
Don’t get me wrong, Scherzer is a very good and even great pitcher, but is the two-time All-Star worth $170-180 million at 29 years old?
Those are scary numbers to give to pitchers. Am I right?
Another positive for Scherzer is he’s a very reliable pitcher and durable. He’s made 30 or more starts every year since ’09.
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My thought is … skip on Scherzer and spend the money on other needs, especially designated hitter and left field. More help in the bullpen is a must as well, and splurging on Scherzer just doesn’t work out long-term for the White Sox in my book.
What are your thoughts on this? If this would become a realistic surprise, I feel it would be good for the short term, but hurt the long-term future of the White Sox.
Though … I’m not saying I wouldn’t be very excited, either.