The latest playoff odds for each of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams came out on Monday, and right now the Houston Astros are the third most likely team to play in a big October baseball. , behind only the Chicago White Sox (no odds posted, as they are a death lock to make the playoffs) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (-10,000, or 1-100, in plain English).
The Astros’ odds of making the playoffs are currently posted at -2500 (or 1 in 25), meaning there’s less than a 5% chance they’ll miss the playoffs, according to punters. So any trade the Astros make on the next trade deadline of July 30 is not a simple survival. The Astros are already a real contender for the World Series, as it stands. Any deal they make is kind of a ‘go for it’ move, and there wouldn’t be a bigger move than, for the third time in four years, to go and get an ace-level starting pitcher.
According to a report by Michael Schwab, host of the “Schwabcast” podcast, the Astros plan to do just that:
The Astros are showing interest in a trade for Max Scherzer, according to people familiar with the situation.
– Michael Schwab (@ michaelschwab13) July 18, 2021
Trading to Scherzer, who was ironically on the mound starting Game 7 of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park two seasons ago for the Washington Nationals, would be a hit, and without a doubt, the first signing salute. of James Click’s brief career. as Managing Director of Astros. So let’s take a look at some thoughts on this exciting possibility:
How good is Scherzer at the moment?
Before considering the package, the Astros would drop out to get Scherzer (and make no mistake, that would be A LOT, and would almost certainly include one or more of the bright young hopefuls already throwing on the big league roster like Luis Garcia or Cristian. Javier), here’s what you need to know. On the pitch, Scherzer is building a typical Scherzer’s season, meaning he has been dominant. If the season ended today, he would finish with the best WHIP of his career, at 0.886, and while he’s certainly nearing the end of his career at 36, he’s showing no signs of slowing down. In the area of contracts, Scherzer has a somewhat messy contractual situation:
The other important factor in a deal is Scherzer’s complicated contractual situation. Mad Max will earn around $ 34.5 million in 2021 before hitting the free agent market this offseason. He has a no-trade clause, which means he has a say in where he goes to trade, and he owes money deferred over the next seven years. Washington is on the books for $ 15 million for each year from 2022 to 2028, for a total of $ 105 million. On top of that, Scherzer will receive a bonus of around $ 7.5 million in September.
Plus, Scherzer is likely to want a contract extension from the team trading for him, and with a full no-trade clause, he has a lot of control over making a deal.
What have we learned from the Verlander and Greinke trades?
The two trades the Astros have made in recent seasons that would most resemble a Scherzer trade are the Justin Verlander deal in 2017 and the Zack Greinke deal in 2019. I would classify both of these trades as successes, although Verlander signed a two-year contract extension for 2020 and 2021 which saw him start a total of one game in those two seasons. In 2017, Verlander was an important key to the Astros winning a title, and Greinke helped the Astros within three innings of another title in 2019, and less than one game of an AL title in 2020. The key thing we’ve learned from these deals is that (a) owner Jim Crane is quite willing to go all-in to win a title, and (b) it helps if the Astros are trading for more than just a rental. months, as Verlander and Greinke both had two seasons left on their trades after the season in which the trades were made. As stated before, Scherzer is a real rental for a few months, unless a contract extension is agreed with the trade.
The schedule is different this time around
Some administrative elements to note here. First, the deadline for transactions is July 30 of this year, not July 31. The reason is quite simple. July 31st falls on a weekend this year, and the deadline is usually during the regular work week, so it’s Friday July 30th! Second, there is only ONE trade deadline now, and it’s late July. Previously, there was a second deadline at the end of August to trade players who cleared waivers in the league (like Verlander in 2017). The second deadline no longer exists, so it’s July 30 or the bust for all trades.
Who will be competing for Scherzer’s services?
Any team with both playoff hopes and plenty of resources (cash and trading chips) are probably already pricing the market with Washington, currently sitting 43-49, 10 games away from a wild card spot. Scherzer’s most intriguing potential landing spots, besides Houston, would be with the Giants or Dodgers, who are currently engaged in aerial combat in the western NL, and the Dodgers are currently unfolding without Trevor Bauer, while the investigation into the sexual assault allegations against him is ongoing, which has led the MLB to put him on leave. Other possibilities for Scherzer would include the Red Sox, Yankees and Blue Jays.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like it on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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