While discussing possible landing spots for free agent starter Max Scherzer this week, former GM and current ESPN analyst Jim Bowden mentioned the Washington Nationals as one potential suitor.
Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo, "... rates Scherzer at the top of the free-agent pitchers list from both the 2015 and 2016 classes," Bowden wrote, and after trying and thus far failing to sign Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann to long-term deals, Rizzo could, Bowden reasoned, sign Scherzer and, "... then deal Zimmermann and Desmond for younger MLB-ready players and prospects, continuing to build their strong farm system while still being able to be a World Series contender."
A rotation of Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Doug Fister and Tanner Roark would be as strong as one with Zimmermann Bowden wrote, and going forward with one more season of Zimmermann and Desmond and then allowing both to leave via free agency, is, "... not the best plan for an organization thinking long term."
According to multiple reports today, Bowden may have been on to something.
The Nationals are said to be one of two teams currently negotiating what could be a seven-year deal with the veteran right-hander who finished his seventh major league season (18-5) in 33 starts for the Detroit Tigers, with a 3.15 ERA, 2.85 FIP, 63 walks (2.57 BB/9) and 252 Ks (10.29 K/9) in 220 ⅓ IP over which he was worth +5.6 fWAR.
As for today's rumors. Here's what's being said on Twitter:
Sources: Increasing sense throughout league that Max Scherzer will end up with #Nationals. Unclear if deal is close.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) January 18, 2015
scherzer talking to a couple teams about 7-year deal, nats among them.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 18, 2015
scherzer likely to have deal with a team soon. nats, 1 other believed in mix. @ChrisCotillo said he'll likely end up a nat— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 18, 2015
max scherzer talking seriously to nats & at least 1 other. deal expected to be 7 years & come soon. http://t.co/SuKraexqKR— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 18, 2015
Source: Max Scherzer is close to signing a seven-year deal. Between #Nationals and one other club. First reported: @JonHeymanCBS— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 18, 2015
#Nats have been talking with "multiple" teams on Jordan Zimmermann trade possibilities over past few weeks, sources say.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 18, 2015
Can confirm @JonHeymanCBS @ChrisCotillo Scherzer close to 7-yr deal. #Nationals are viewed as likely landing spot— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 18, 2015
I have confirmed that the #Nationals are in the Max Scherzer sweepstakes.@JonHeymanCBS and @ChrisCotillo are the first to report it. #MLB— William Ladson (@washingnats) January 18, 2015
Is this a Prince Fielder-ish situation? A Rafael Soriano-ish one? Plenty of rumors out there right now...
More info when/if it's available...