While other teams in the MLB were making major signings and trades during the offseason, the Washington Nationals were very quiet. The Nationals made some noise when they traded All-Star pitcher Tyler Clippard to the Oakland Athletics for shortstop Yunel Escobar.
The Nationals made one of the biggest signings in the league by signing former Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer.
When the two-time All-Star went into free agent market, there was a good chance that he wasn’t going resign with the Tigers, but signing with the Nationals was sort of unexpected.
The Nats didn’t announce they were in the bidding for Max until late last week. However, they were still able to sign Scherzer to a 7-year deal for $210 million.
Before this signing, the Washington Nationals were already one of the best teams in the MLB. They won the NL East division twice in the last three years. The Nats had the best record in the National League last season.
The addition to Scherzer makes the Nationals an even better team especially their starting rotation, which is one of the best in baseball.
Last season, Scherzer went 18-5 and had 3.15 ERA. He recorded 252 strikeouts, went to his second All-Star game, and came in fifth place in the CY-Young voting. Scherzer’s best season was in 2013 when he went 21-3 and supported a 2.90 ERA. He struck out 240 batters and won the CY-Young award.
Even though the Nationals acquired one of the best pitchers in baseball, there some things the Nationals will have to figure out before Opening Day. The first thing is the starting rotation. Below is the rotation from last season;
- Stephen Strasburg
- Jordan Zimmermann
- Gio Gonzalez
- Doug Fister
- Tanner Roark
The way the rotation is set up right now, it looks like Tanner Roark will be going back to the bullpen. It’s hard to see Roark being the odd man out because he had a season most number one starters would have. With Roark heading to the bullpen, the Nationals will still have a great starting rotation and the bullpen will get even better.
Another question is will Stephen Strasburg or Jordan Zimmermann will be traded or not. There were rumors saying if the team signs Max, the Nationals will listen to trade talks for both pitchers. Now with Scherzer signed, will trade talks for the Nats top pitchers continue?
It would be best for the Nats to keep Zimmermann and Strasburg and the way the Sunday’s press conference went, it looks like the two pitchers will be in a Nats uniform this season.
The pitching ability Scherzer brings to the team makes the Nats even better than they were before. If the team stays healthy and play the way they are capable of, there is no question the Nationals has a chance to represent the National League in the World Series.