Max Scherzer told reporters in Baltimore on Saturday that even though he was scratched from his planned start against the Orioles in Oriole Park at Camden Yards, with what the Nationals said was just “mild discomfort in his right tricep,” he expected to be able to be ready for his next turn in the rotation.
Scherzer felt the discomfort after taking BP on Tuesday and it didn’t get better in time for today’s scheduled start.— Jessica Camerato (@JessicaCamerato) July 24, 2021
Washington’s skipper, Davey Martinez, talked to reporters before the second of three with the O’s about the decision to scratch Scherzer and go with Jon Lester.
“[Scherzer] had a — he came to my office and said his tricep was bothering him,” Martinez explained. “He had some mild discomfort in his [right] tricep. We talked it through. As you know Max, he wanted to try the best he can to make his start today, and yesterday we talked a little bit more and I decided, hey, maybe it’s best that we don’t push this thing.
“We sent him to get an MRI, his MRI came back extremely clean. As of right now, he’s just got mild discomfort in his right tricep, and he’s assuming and expecting to make his next start and so am I.”
Scherzer, 36, missed time with a groin injury earlier this season, but through 18 starts, the 14-year veteran has posted a 2.83 ERA, a 3.48 FIP, 25 walks (2.14 BB/9), 142 Ks, (12.17 K/9), and a .183/.248/.353 line against in 105 innings pitched.
While his manager acknowledged that Scherzer did feel discomfort while swinging the bat, Martinez said it didn’t matter how it happened.
“It’s still discomfort in his throwing arm, whether it was swinging or throwing, you know, for me it’s relatively all the same,” he explained.
“The good thing is, as I said, the MRI came back extremely clean and everything, so I’m not really concerned about it, I’m really not. I just want — for me it’s more — I talked to him about him being fatigued in his right arm and tricep, so we’re going to look at it that way and see how he feels coming in tomorrow.
“I gave Lester a heads up yesterday, just in case [Scherzer] couldn’t go today, I talked to Lester and he said he was good to go. Actually, we were trying to give these guys an extra day, unfortunately it didn’t work out that way, and Lester is pitching on his fifth day, so Lester is going to go out there and pitch today.”
“Hopefully this is just a day to day thing,” Martinez added, “... and Max does make his next start, and then we go from there. We all know Max, he’s going to do everything he can to get back on the mound as soon as possible.”
The issue comes just as the trade rumors around the struggling Nationals are heating up.
Max Scherzer* is being discussed in potential trades, and while the Nats (famous for ‘19 WS comeback win) are investigating both buy/sell scenarios, they are 7 games back and a Scherzer trade suddenly seems quite possible. He alone would transform thin SP market. *has veto rights— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 24, 2021
This weekend, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal wrote that while previous reports quoting Scott Boras, Scherzer’s agent, noted that Scherzer, “would require a contract extension to waive his full no-trade protection,” if the Nationals tried to deal him before the July 30th deadline, he later clarified, talking to the Washington Post, that, “... when players are traded, and you refer to contract amendments, it does not necessarily mean an extension.”
Rosenthal noted that Boras this week, “reiterated that stance...saying that tax adjustments, moving expenses and other amenities are far more likely to be part of such a conversation than an extension,” and with Scherzer playing out the final season of his 7-year/$210M deal in D.C., the agent would, “prefer to negotiate on the open market rather than with just one team.”
The Athletic’s reporter also threw out the idea of trading Scherzer now and then re-signing him in free agency, since he, “would not be subject to a qualifying offer, so the Nats would not lose a draft pick for re-signing him.” Will something happen? How is Scherzer handling all of the chatter?
“He’s been great,” Martinez said. “He really has.
“He focuses on getting ready each and every start and every day in-between. I mean, he’s just a competitor, and he doesn’t worry about that stuff, he controls the controllables.
“We often talk, because my whole career during this time it was always I was getting traded here, I was getting traded there, I was going here, I was going there.
“You can’t focus on that, you’ve just got to focus on your daily routine and try to help the team you’re with win, and he understands that.”