Before the MLB trade deadline this season, Max Scherzer informed the Washington Nationals that joining the Los Angeles Dodgers were one of his preferred destinations. The San Diego Padres were also believed to be on that list, but Scherzer has not confirmed as much.
The future Hall of Famer will be a free agent after the season and he will likely draw a lot of interest from teams around the league, but it would make sense if he still prefers to stay on the West Coast in the final years of his career.
Dependent on what unfolds with Trevor Bauer, the Dodgers could be in the market to re-sign the 37-year-old this winter.
Of course, there doesn’t figure to be a shortage of interest in Scherzer, and that might include the L.A. Angels, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network:
The Angels may be a big player for Max Scherzer in winter as I just said on @MLBNetwork. It could be an LA-LA showdown. Even on outskirts of race, they looked into him as a rental so it makes sense they’d cover him as a free agent. And based on his trade list he clearly likes LA!
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) August 12, 2021
The Angels desperately need starting pitching to avoid wasting the prime years of superstars Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, who are arguably the two best players in the game.
Despite their incredibly slim chances of making the playoffs this season, the Angels were reported to have inquired on Scherzer before he ultimately ended up with the Dodgers. That would further suggest exploring a potential signing in free agency.
Angels owner Arte Moreno loves to make splashes with big-name signings in free agency, so Scherzer could very well be their top target.
One more thing to consider is Scherzer wanted to be traded to an NL team because of his familiarity with the league. Changing leagues in the offseason is different than changing during a season, but there will be a strong chance that Schzerzer will prefer to remain in the NL for the rest of his career.
Will the Dodgers re-sign Scherzer?
In addition to Bauer, the Dodgers’ ability to re-sign Scherzer might hinge on the futures of Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager and Chris Taylor, who are all free agents after this season.
Of course, L.A. can sign them all at a very high cost, but they also have to look down the line at contracts for Trea Turner (2023 free agent), Cody Bellinger (2024), Julio Urias (2024) and Walker Buehler (2025), who will all receive significant pay raises over the next few seasons through arbitration.
The Dodgers have shown a reluctance to go over the luxury tax threshold for more than one or two seasons at a time, which further complicates things. However, they should be able to make it work if they want to because Scherzer and Kershaw won’t be looking at long-term contracts.
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