Nationals

Zimmerman: Scherzer could return to Nats in '22, even if traded

Nationals

After having one of their worst months in recent memory, the Nationals have turned into sellers during the 2021 MLB Trade Deadline, with three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer likely to be traded.

Scherzer, unquestionably the best starting pitcher on the market, is set to be a free agent following the 2021 season. Any team that trades for the righthander is almost certainly getting him as a rental, unless the two sides can agree to a lucrative extension that would match what he could command on the open market.

Speaking on the Sports Junkies on Thursday, longtime Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman left open the possibility of Scherzer re-signing with the Nationals this offseason, even if Washington does trade him elsewhere in the next couple of days.

"Obviously, I don't have to speak what type of player Max is. He's a great person, unbelievable for this team and this organization. Even if he does get traded, it doesn't mean he's not going to be here," Zimmerman said. "He's a free agent after the year, he gets to choose what he wants to do. This is just the situation we're in right now."

With the Nationals several games back in the NL East, it makes sense for them to trade Scherzer, considering the significant haul they would likely receive in return. Washington has one of the worst farm systems in baseball, and getting multiple prospects in return would only help change that.

 

It's also worth noting that Nationals also are set to pay Scherzer $15 million each season over the next seven years as part of the deferred money from the original contract he signed in 2015. 

According to multiple reports, Scherzer prefers to be traded to a West Coast team. All three of the NL West's likely playoff teams -- the Dodgers, Padres and Giants -- are likely to be in the mix. The eight-time All-Star also has 10-5 rights, meaning he can veto any trade if one is in place to a destination he doesn't want to go to. 

Zimmerman, who's close friends with Scherzer, admitted that he'll miss getting to play behind one of the league's best starters.

"I can't say enough good things about Max. He's been a pleasure and an honor to play behind him as long as I have," Zimmerman said. "He's truly one of the greatest of all-time and the [most fun] to watch. The way he prepares and the way he works I think is unmatched. It's been pretty cool to play behind him. It will definitely be weird."

While Scherzer is likely to be moved in the next couple of days, Zimmerman has no plans of getting him a parting gift.

"He can get whatever the hell he wants on his own," Zimmerman joked.