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Washington Nationals’ Max Scherzer drawing plenty of interest as 2021 Trade Deadline gets closer...

Will the Nationals find the right deal that compels them to trade Max Scherzer?

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Washington Nationals v Baltimore Orioles Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

This past weekend, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal wrote that while previous reports quoting Max Scherzer’s agent, Scott Boras, noted that Scherzer, “would require a contract extension to waive his full no-trade protection,” if the Washington Nationals tried to trade him before this week’s July 30th deadline, Boras 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, now 37, playing out the final year of his 7-year/$210M deal in D.C., his agent would, “prefer to negotiate on the open market rather than with just one team.”

In another story on the rumors out there around Scherzer on Tuesday, Rosenthal wrote that if any interested teams needed more incentive to trade for the three-time Cy Young award-winner, “... a team that trades for [him] would not owe him a single cent the rest of the season, inheriting the remaining portion of his $35 million salary, all of which is deferred until 2028.

Scherzer’s seven-year deal, Rosenthal explained, “essentially pays him $15 million per year from ’15 to ’28,” and the starter’s, “... payout this season is a $15 million portion of his $50 million signing bonus,” which is the Nationals’ responsibility.

“[Scherzer] already has received half of that amount, with the other $7.5 million due in September,” and any team that acquires him would take on responsibility, “... for the remainder of Scherzer’s $35 million salary for 2021 — about one-third. And that amount, because it is deferred entirely until ’28, would be valued at less than it is now.”

Got all that?

Oh wait, also any team that acquires him would take around a $10-$12M hit in terms of, “luxury-tax payroll, which is based on players’ average annual salaries.”

But that is apparently not lessening the interest around the league in potentially acquiring Scherzer:

It is important to note, of course, as Rosenthal did, that, “Scherzer maintains the right to veto any trade as a player with 10 years of major-league service, five consecutive with the same team,” which he could use to essentially choose his next destination by approving which team he’s dealt to from among the suitors, with an opportunity to pitch for a team that’s postseason bound a key consideration.

Scherzer, of course, is currently dealing with what the Nationals described when he was scratched from his scheduled start this past weekend as, “... mild discomfort in his right tricep,” though according to his manager, Davey Martinez, the starter threw a bullpen in Philadelphia on Monday and threw the ball well with no issues, though, as Martinez said, Scherzer likes to wait and see how he feels afterward and how he recovers.

As for how Scherzer was dealing with the chatter, Martinez said, “I really believe that, yeah, he just wants to compete. And as far as he’s concerned he’s competing for us on Thursday and that’s what he worries about.”

Will he start for the Nationals in the series finale with the Phillies though, or will he be on his way to a new home?

Martinez said before last night’s game that Scherzer is all set to start on Thursday.

“Yeah, Max is — he said he feels good, so we’re preparing him to start Thursday.”

But are they also setting up contingency plans in case he can’t, for whatever reason, start the finale with the Phillies.

“We gave [Paolo] Espino the heads up already, but I’m assuming that — I saw [Scherzer] today and he said he feels good, now he’s going to go out there and do his normal routine, and I’ll talk to him again some point today, tonight, and we’ll see how he feels then.”

Late last night/early this morning, Rosenthal too said that the Dodgers, Padres, and Giants appear to be Scherzer’s preferred destinations.

“Scherzer’s preference, according to major-league sources, is one of the three NL West contenders — the Padres, the Dodgers and the Giants,” he wrote, noting, “... interested executives say, [the Nationals] want to get a deal in place as quickly as possible,” so that they have ample time, “before Friday’s trade deadline to entice Scherzer to waive the no-trade protection.”