Nationals

Scherzer didn't think he was traded to Padres despite rumors

Nationals

For about three hours following his start last Thursday, then-Nationals star pitcher Max Scherzer appeared to be headed to San Diego. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and other prominent outlets reported the two sides were close to a deal, as it was believed to be in the final stages.

Scherzer, though, never fully believed he was headed to the Padres, however, despite the multiple reports that had surfaced on Twitter. Why? He had yet to hear from Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo.

“We have teammates. I was kind of aware it was going on, but I had not gotten that phone call from Rizzo to say that was a done deal. In baseball, whenever you see things like that, rumors are rumors until you actually get the phone call," Scherzer told reporters via Zoom on Tuesday.

"But the fact that Twitter was going off and I hadn’t gotten a phone call, I knew something else was probably still in the weeds," he continued.

Of course, the Nationals-Padres deal never came to fruition. Scherzer was dealt to San Deigo's NL West rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers, one day later along with MVP candidate shortstop Trea Turner in exchange for four prospects.

Scherzer, who had earned 10-5 rights, meaning he had a no-trade clause in his Nationals' contract, had some say as to where he would end up. The 37-year-old said two things he wanted for certain were to stay in the National League and to go to a warm-weather city. 

 

The Dodgers fit both of those requirements. So did the Padres, though.

"I was driving myself crazy trying to make a decision there in like two days. The thing that gave me clarity was instead of trying to pick a team, saying 'where would I go to, accept a trade to?'" Scherzer said. "Obviously, LA being as talented as they are, they were a team [I'd go to]. I told the Nationals that I wasn't necessarily going to dictate which team I go to, but rather which team I would accept a trade to."

Scherzer was on a bus ride from Philadelphia back to D.C. when he got the call from Rizzo. That's when he realized the rumors were no longer rumors and that he was officially going to be a Dodger. 

"I think it went final when we were on a bus going back down to D.C.," Scherzer said. "Then I got the phone call from Mike Rizzo saying you've been traded to the Dodgers. You almost find out on Twitter. Twitter knows all."

The three-time Cy Young winner understands why the Nationals were sellers at the deadline. Rizzo told Scherzer that the ballclub needed a facelift, the right-hander said. With Scherzer in the final year of his deal and still an elite pitcher, Washington was able to get a decent amount of prospects in return for him and Turner.

Now in Los Angeles and repping Dodger Blue, Scherzer is focused on winning another World Series title for the reigning champions.

"For me, it’s an opportunity to come to another organization to win. And when you talk about trying to win, this is a team that won the World Series last year," he said.