The Nationals still have a chance to avoid selling at the trade deadline after a recent hot stretch put the team at .500 and within range of a playoff spot. Max Scherzer, a free agent after this season, is as critical to their postseason chances as anyone on the roster. However, should the Nationals fall out of the race ahead of the deadline, a Scherzer trade won’t be easy to pull off.
Scherzer’s agent Scott Boras told NBC Sports Chicago’s Gordon Wittenmyer on Friday that the three-time Cy Young winner would require an extension from the team that hopes to acquires him if the Nationals attempt to trade him. The right-hander has 10-and-5 rights, meaning he’s played 10 years in the majors and five with one team to qualify for a full no-trade clause.
“The reality of it is it’s going to have to lead to something,” Boras said of whether Scherzer would sign off on a trade, as quoted by Wittenmyer.
“And the reality of it is a ton of people are going to ask,” he added. “He’s probably the most coveted trade chip I’ve seen, because every team that’s in it needs him.”
Scherzer’s request would seemingly rule out the possibility of the Nationals trading him at the deadline and signing him back in free agency this winter. Any deal involving the future Hall of Famer would effectively mark the end of his tenure in Washington.
Heading into play Friday, Scherzer is 6-4 on the season with a 2.19 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 14 starts. He missed one turn of the rotation with a groin strain but returned Tuesday and tossed five innings of one-run ball against the Philadelphia Phillies.