Max Scherzer is the only franchise-changing player left on the free agent market. With 2015 officially upon us, the Scott Boras client should land his coveted massive deal within the next couple of months. Scherzer’s a huge potential addition for nearly every team, but is he a fit for the New York Yankees? Here’s an examination on the possible Scherzer and New York fit.
Jon Lester received a six-year, $155 million deal from the Chicago Cubs this offseason. The Seattle Mariners have Felix Hernandez under a seven-year, $175 million contract. Clayton Kershaw, legendary lefty for the Los Angeles Dodgers, tops them both with his seven-year, $215 million monstrosity. Where does this leave Scherzer? Probably in the $200 million range. Funds for the Yankees have never been a problem.
New York currently has major money owed to Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia, two hurlers with questionable health. Their injury issues and the team’s two-year playoff drought evoke a sense of desperation. Scherzer, a winner of 39 games over the last two seasons, a player who has amassed between 231 and 252 strikeouts during the last three, could be a calming force in a scrambling rotation.
Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman has voiced a desire to not spend indiscriminately like past New York squads. Don’t buy this idea for a second. New York will land Scherzer if they deem him a possible savior. He’s totaled 30 or more starts for six straight seasons. He’s a strikeout machine with a low rate of issuing walks. With 1239 1/3 innings pitched in his parts of seven MLB campaigns, Scherzer still has plenty of taxing left on his arm.
The standard statistics are appealing, but Scherzer’s strikeout proficiency and eye-popping pitches also rank highly in advanced metrics. His WAR has ranged from 4.5 to 6.4 over the last three years. His average fastball velocity has always been between 92 mph and 94 mph throughout his career. With a changeup, slider and curveball utilized as regular offerings, Scherzer’s slightly dipping in speed heater shouldn’t hurt him. His arsenal, quite bluntly, is disgusting.
Scherzer’s measurements are there. He passes the eye test with flying colors. He hasn’t pitched an immense MLB innings total and appears to have plenty remaining in his right arm. For the Yankees, with Tanaka, Sabathia and others already under gargantuan deals, can they afford one more? The answer is always yes. For Scherzer though, the difference is that he’d probably be the only one worth it.