What the Max Scherzer Trade Means for the Washington Nationals

Nats fans… I don’t know what to say. Maybe “sorry” is a good place to start. I know, I know, my words probably mean nothing when discussing such a tragedy. Maybe I can help you process this by explaining it.

Last week, Dodgers’ starting pitcher and longtime National Max Scherzer was acquired by the New York Mets on a three year $130 million contract, breaking yearly salary records. Oof.

The Nats had traded Scherzer about midway through last season, as their playoff hopes had completely disappeared. A couple more trades, including sending star SS Trea Turner to the Dodgers, and they were officially a rebuilding team. If you’re a Nats fan, I’m sorry you had to watch that pitiful end to a season.

Finishing last in an NL East division that also has the Miami Marlins is… alarming. Especially with a World Series win not even three years ago, fans didn’t expect for the Nats to do a complete 180. But, as they began to look forward to making a new upwards trend during the next few seasons, Scherzer’s shocking move may put those hopes on hold.

For one, Scherzer ended up on the Mets. Like, the Nats’ NL East rival Mets. It’s a problem when one of the best senior players on your roster ends up anywhere else. But, in this situation, the problem gets even worse.

In New York, Scherzer will be joining a starting rotation that includes SP Jacob DeGrom, who many consider to be the best pitcher in baseball. Scherzer, who is definitely a top ten pitcher and likely top five depending on who you ask, alongside DeGrom creates the best pitching duo in the MLB. And it doesn’t help that the Nats will be facing the Mets the most they’ll face any team.

Considering the Nats ended last season with a negative run differential, the last thing they need is to face some really good pitchers more often than not. Even though hitting wasn’t necessarily the reason last season ended so terribly, the Nats will need something to make up for their serious lack of pitching.

The Nats ended last season with the seventh-worst ERA in the league. Their pitchers were credited with 97 losses, fifth-worst among all teams, and gave up the second most home runs at 247, only 9 shy of the Baltimore Orioles. Their bullpen’s WHIP, saves, and opponent’s BA all landed in the worst ten.

Ok, ok. So maybe instead of worrying about the possibility of getting shut out twice during a three game set, Nats fans can focus on what their team should be doing to fix up its own rotation. I’ll be breaking down the Nat’s off-season moves during my annual off-season analysis, coming this spring.