Detroit Tigers ace and Cy Young winner Max Scherzer is available for trade according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. The 29 year-old Scherzer will hit free agency next year, and is projected to earn over $13 million in arbitration this season.
Scherzer has been dominant the last two years, as he’s posted a 3.29 ERA and a 2.99 FIP. His 29.0 percent strikeout rate is second only to Yu Darvish. Opposing hitters hit just .196 against Scherzer in 2013.
The reigning Cy Young winner has only been traded four times before. Last year it was R.A. Dickey getting swapped from the New York Mets to the Toronto Blue Jays who then signed him to an extension. Like Scherzer, Dickey had just one year of team control remaining.
The Jays also dealt Roger Clemens to the New York Yankees following the 1998 season in which Clemens threw 234.2 innings with a 2.65 ERA and 271 strikeouts. This was a rare exception in that the Jays still had two years of team control.
In 1997, Pedro Martinez won the NL Cy Young for the Montreal Expos, who then dealt him to the Boston Red Sox. The Sox kept Pedro from hitting free agency by signing him to a six-year, $75 million deal that was then the biggest deal signed for a pitcher. That looks like pennies now. Inflation.
David Cone won the Cy Young for the Kansas City Royals in the strike-shortened 1994 season. But, right after the strike ended, the Royals dealt him to the Jays for a bevy of prospects, none of which panned out.
The Tigers already dealt rotation mainstay Doug Fister to the Nationals last week. Fister isn’t quite on the same level as Scherzer, but he has another year of team control and is considerably cheaper. The return the Tigers got on Fister was much lower than expected. But, given Scherzer’s cost and the fact that he is a one-year rental before becoming a very expensive free agent, I wouldn’t expect him to bring in more than Fister.
If the Tigers do end up dealing Scherzer, a win-now team would be the best fit. Maybe the Nationals will go after him? That would be crazy.