Seattle Should Throw Stacks Of Cash At Max Scherzer


Editor’s Note: This is Part 3 of a 4-part series. Parts one and two can be found on the links here and here. Part four is the rebuttal to this article, it posts Sunday.

The Seattle Mariners are a much-improved team from 2014. The offense should benefit from the addition of Nelson Cruz in the cleanup spot (even if he doesn’t match his numbers from 2014).

The platoon of Justin Ruggiano and Seth Smith should also be a welcome sign of improvement in right field and the lower in the order spots.

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I’m not a fan of the J.A. Happ trade, but it’s perhaps better than taking a chance that Chris Young was gonna have success in 2015. But to push this team over the top in 2015 and beyond, I still think the team needs one more impact signing.

Enter Max Scherzer.

I know, Seattle isn’t listed as one of the main parties interested in obtaining the soon-to-be-former Tiger’s services. But does that mean the Mariners shouldn’t try?

Look at the potential 5-man rotation with Scherzer in the mix:

1- Felix Hernandez
2- Max Scherzer
3- Hisashi Iwakuma
4- James Paxton
5- Taijuan Walker

That leaves room for Roenis Elias and J.A. Happ to slot in if injuries occur or if the team gets an offer for Iwakuma near the trade deadline (he’s a free agent in 2015).

The Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said recently that the Tigers are probably not going to re-sign him. That statement was backed up by the record one-year $19.75 million contract they just gave David Price to avoid arbitration.

Are the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Marlins, Cubs, Cardinals and Giants going to be involved? Maybe, possibly, probably not, they wish, perhaps, most likely and not likely.

So, for those of you that have been worried about his 7-year $200M asking price, I say: That number is coming down as we speak.

The 2015 payroll for the Mariners (with arbitration estimates) sits around $115 million. We can probably assume that Scherzer will either settle for less per year to get a 7-year deal, or he’ll settle for a 6-year deal to get the $28 million/year he was seeking.

Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Either way, adding Scherzer puts Seattle at between $140M and $143M for 2015. That is well within their capacity to accomplish with the added TV revenues.

That number would put them right in line with the AL West champion Los Angeles Angels and the World Champion San Francisco Giants. A top-10 payroll for the first time since 2010. And yes, it would be the highest payroll the team has ever had, but that could also mean the first World Series appearance and possible win the team has ever had.

In my post arguing against James Shields, I argue that his postseason record wasn’t good enough. Scherzer’s isn’t John Smoltz-worthy, but it’s better than Shields.

In 12 games (10 starts), Scherzer is 4-3 with an ERA of 3.73. He also has 80 strikeouts in 62.2 innings. I will take that kind of playoff performance experience on this roster and I will gladly pay the $25M+ to get it.

Finally, Safeco Field is a pitcher’s park. Think about how effective Scherzer would be pitching half his games in the pitcher-friendly confines of the Safe.

Scherzer has a 3.04 ERA in four career starts at Safeco Field. There are only two ballparks in which he has made at least four career starts where he has a lower ERA. Kauffman Stadium – KC (2.97) and Rogers Centre – TOR (1.98). Don’t think that doesn’t play a part in it? Because it will.

Do I think that the Mariners will get Scherzer? No, I don’t. But if I had the ear of GM Jack Zduriencik, I would certainly make my case to him often.

In the postseason, games are won with pitching (see Madison Bumgarner). If you have the best, you will be the best.