Max Scherzer's incredible seven-year tenure with the Washington Nationals came to a close in late July when he and All-Star shortstop Trea Turner were traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. At the time, the Nationals were limping towards the trade deadline. Trading Scherzer, who's in the final year of his contract, became inevitable.
However, Scherzer is set to be a free agent this winter. And Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo is not ruling out a reunion with the three-time Cy Young winner.
"Never say never," Rizzo said on the Sports Junkies when asked if Scherzer would return to the Nats.
If Scherzer were to return to the Nationals, it wouldn't be the first time a team traded one of its stars in the final year of his contract, only to re-sign him the following winter. We saw the New York Yankees do such with Aroldis Chapman, whom they traded to the Cubs in 2016 at the deadline in a package focused around Gleyber Torres. After winning the title with Chicago, Chapman returned to the Yankees that winter.
Scherzer is expected to be the top starting pitcher on the free-agent market this winter. He'll likely have multiple suitors -- as he did at the trade deadline -- and will be able to thoroughly weigh all his options before signing with the respective team of his choosing.
"Max has been a big part of my life, I drafted him in 2006 and continue to be close to him to this day," Rizzo said. "He's going to go to a team of his choice. He's going to pick and choose the criteria that works for him."
At age 37, it's hard to imagine that Scherzer would return to the Nationals if they were not built to contend. Rizzo admitted he's "not sure" whether Washington will be able to return to the postseason in 2022 and remained adamant that they aren't going to take any shortcuts during this retool.
Yet, if Scherzer does express interest in returning to the Nationals, Rizzo sounded as if he'd be more than welcome to bring him back.
"We would love to have him retire in a Nationals uniform," Rizzo said. "If at all possible, we'd love to do it. I think he would embrace coming back if all the right pieces were in order. He's a guy close to our hearts and a guy we loved having in D.C."