Tag: Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer was a gamble Cardinals didn’t need to take

When Washington Nationls and St. Louis native Max Scherzer was testing free agency in the offseason, many in St. Louis were wondering if the hometown Cardinals should put an offer in. Why not? Max is in the prime of his career, has the arsenal of an ace and would be able to put the Birds on the Bat on his chest at last. A alum of The University of Missouri, Columbia, it’d be a homecoming for Mad Max. There was just one thing. He wasn’t needed. I wrote about it then and confirming it now.

Let’s flash forward eight months. The best ERA in baseball belongs to the Cardinals(2.73) and the most quality starts(94) sits in St. Louis as well. This happens without Adam Wainwright for all but four starts and only a half order of lethal lefty Jaime Garcia. It includes an old tough cowboy in John Lackey, a durable innings beast in Lance Lynn, and two white hot phenoms in Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez. Along the way, Tyler Lyons and Tim Cooney have also helped. Where does Max fit into this equation? Where does his seven year, 210 million dollar contract fit in with the Birds?

Scherzer is making 17 million this year and 22 million from 2016-2018. After that, he is scheduled to make 42 million over the next three years(2019-21) but it is being spread out over the next seven years. The Nationals are going to be paying Scherzer for the next 13 seasons, but he isn’t scheduled to throw a pitch after 2021. Does that sound like something John Mozeliak would do?

The answer is no and the reason he didn’t step into that ring was due to the depth and success the Cardinals have established over the past few seasons. It seems like every year the Cardinals are hit with brutal injuries and just bounce back like warriors in a coliseum. That’s because they aren’t built on one insane contract. Mozeliak traded Shelby Miller and didn’t get close to the Scherzer tree because of guys like Wacha and Martinez. When you are growing perfect tomatoes, why pay outside the farm?

To be fair, Scherzer is having a solid season that needs to be appreciated. His fielding independent ERA is 2.75 and he has 219 strikeouts to just 26 walks. He has thrown three complete games and two shutouts. His record, 11-11, is just another signal of how useless the win total can be with a pitcher. He’s earning that 17 million dollars. I’m just glad he is doing it in a Nationals uniform and not a Cardinals one.

Pitching is not what the Cardinals are in need of. Prime hitting, especially in the future with aging bodies like Matt Holliday reaching the final stage of their career, is their need. The money that fans wanted to see put into an arm like Scherzer will go into a long term contract for Jason Heyward. In the end, Mo knows when it comes to what free agents to bring in and which ones to just smile and look at. A talent that has been growing out at 7th street and Spruce for a while now.

While Max Scherzer coming home to pitch for the Cardinals would have been a nice story and generated some waves across baseball, it simply wasn’t a gamble the Cardinals and Mozeliak needed to take.

Photo by Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer is The AL’s Best. My Reasons follow.

I know what you are thinking.  What the hell?  We all know this and some have already voted for the St. Louis native who now pounds strikeouts and collects wins like bottles of water for the Detroit Tigers.  Some people don’t get why Max Scherzer is so damn good and forget to include that in their debates.   The Cy Young award winner isn’t only linked to just their win total or they shouldn’t be.   Don’t misjudge this for a girlfriend telling her best friend about this new guy she met and only including the physical traits and forgetting that the guy has a killer sense of humor and does work for a charity instead of getting drunk and plastered with his friends.   Basically, don’t disregard the good old fashioned stats that are sitting right in front of you on any player profile page.  Scherzer has broke out of the decent starter for a good team mold and turned into a Cy Young award caliber talent.  Yes, his team scores runs for him and he takes them with open arms and turns them into wins.  However, a pitcher must pitch effectively and consistently to accumulate a record of 18-1 on August 24th.  Here are the reasons I think he is the best and you may have heard them before.

To go with the 18-1 record, he has put together a 1.88 ERA this month, which means he isn’t wearing down but simply sharpening up for the long haul.  He has a better ERA on the road than at home.  He pitches better at night than during the day.   More precisely, he has put togther very good stats.

2.73 ERA

185 K-38 BB

Opponents bat only .191 off him.

He has given up only 14 home runs in the offense friendly American League.  Yes, he does pitch in a pitcher friendly park but still he faces DH heavy lineups every night.

He doesn’t have shutouts or complete games but he has pitched 177.2 innings this year and consistently bangs out quality start after quality start.

His WHIP(average of hits and walks allowed per inning) is .091.  He doesn’t offer a lot of free passes.

He has struck out 10 or more batters in a start 6 times this year.

Fielding independent ERA is 2.66, which is pretty solid for an AL pitcher.

His individual numbers are right there with the perennial favorite Felix Hernandez.  Felix has more walks and a worse WHIP.  Hold off on the praise for him because I know he plays for a bad team but still, individual stats are what is being explored and not win totals.

Today, Max pitched 6 innings, struck out 11 and allowed 3 hits and the Tigers are shutting out the Mets in New York.  Oh yeah, Max has an RBI double.

And then there is the 18 wins(soon to be 19) to go with all the other stats.   In my opinion, Max Scherzer is the Cy Young Award winner because he has the showy numbers and the much needed more detail oriented stats to go with it.

Yu Darvish and Hernandez are credible candidates but unless Scherzer has a horrible September, he is the Cy Young Award winner this year.  I am taking about 2013’s best pitcher in the AL.  Not the past few years.   This may sound like I am simply agreeing with others but I am not.  I looked at the stats and made a choice.

Check back for more blogging later on tonight…..as always, GO CARDS!

Next I break down whether Adam Wainwright deserves the Cy Young award attention over Matt Harvey or is there a silver lining in there?

-Dan Buffa