Max Scherzer tossed six strong for the Washington Nationals on Thursday afternoon, giving up three hits, three walks, and one earned run in an 88-pitch effort against the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank Park, then he spoke on a Zoom call with reporters who did not have too many questions about the outing, but were instead more concerned with all the rumors swirling around the 37-year-old, three-time Cy Young award-winner at that point.
If it was his last start for the Nationals, in his seventh season with the club with whom he signed a seven-year/$210M deal back in 2015, what were his thoughts coming out of the outing?
“I don’t want to look at this as a negative thing, I’d rather look at this as a positive thing,” the right-hander said.
“Look, I signed a seven-year deal here and we won a World Series. That’s what I said, the first thing I said when I signed was I’m here to win. And we won. We won a World Series.
“That’s a life-long dream come true and something I’ll always be so proud of, with these guys here to be able to win a World Series and be part of a championship team, and you know, looking forward to reunions and stuff like that.
“For me, I’m just going to take the glass half full and look at all the great things that have happened in my seven years here.”
As for his thoughts on a potential trade?
“I got nothing,” Scherzer said, refusing to bite.
“I don’t know. How does this go? This is new to me. I’ve only been traded in the offseason.
“I’ve never had to deal with this during the season, so, for me, just put the blinders up, go out there and pitch, compete, and have fun with your teammates, that’s all I can do.”
He did go on at length, however, when asked to reflect on his time in the nation’s capital, if it was his last start for the Nationals.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I put it on the line every single time. I’ll give you everything I’ve got no matter what the situation is.
“Today was a wacky start with all the hoopla and everything going on around, but you know, just put your head down, put the blinders up and just go out there and compete.”
“You do it for each other,” he added.
“I love watching [Gerardo] Parra get the hit and Yan [Gomes] hit the home run,” he said, after the outfielder and catcher combined to break up a 1-1 tie in the top of the seventh inning.
“So, it’s relationships that you make and how you go about it and how you play the game,” Scherzer said.
“Even when you’re at the worst, when you have COVID [outbreaks], when you have trades, all this stuff going down.
“How are you when the worst situations are in front of you, how do you perform? You want to go out there and do your best, I think that’s something I hope that everybody appreciates and my teammates as well, even when we are dealing with all this, all my teammates as well have responded extremely well in going out there and competing and playing as a team despite all the stuff that’s going on all around us, so that’s what I remember.”
That and his family growing up here, and the fans in D.C., of course.
“Yeah, I mean, for me, this is where kind of my family started,” Scherzer said. “Came here without kids, now I’ve got three kids. And I’ve watched my girls kind of grow up here, and living here in Virginia, in the DMV area, really getting used to it and all the politics that are going around, being in the nation’s capital is kind of fun as well.
“Driving by all the monuments every single day. It’s been a very fun experience for me being in D.C., and the fans, what can you say about the fans, that’s where that championship will always mean something to all of us and we’ll always have that and we’ll always have that flag.”
Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner were reportedly traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a prospect package including LA’s top two prospects, catcher Keibert Ruiz and right-hand starter Josiah Gray, the top player and pitcher in the Dodgers’ organization, and two others, right-hander Gerardo Carillo (No. 17 on MLB’s prospect list for the Dodgers), and outfielder Donovan Casey, a 25-year-old, 2017 20th Round pick who has put up a .296/.362/.462 line, 15 doubles, and 11 home runs in 73 games at Double-A in the Dodgers’ system this season.
No official word on this deal as of this writing (12:29 AM) but it’s been widely-reported as all-but done...