Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer is the most coveted pitcher on the trade market, and there's a strong possibility that he'll be dealt ahead of MLB's trade deadline on Friday afternoon.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, teams interested in Scherzer believe that the Nationals want to find a trade partner within the next 48 hours, in order to work out any details related to his no-trade clause and complex contract situation.
"At this point, assuming he's healthy -- and they say he is -- I think Scherzer has gone from a 1-percent to a 90-percent chance to be dealt," Audacy MLB insider Jon Heyman told the Tiki and Tierney show on Tuesday. "That's the biggest name [on the market], he's the most impactful guy. Everybody wants pitching, who's in the race...
"Last year, he had a 3.74 ERA. You might've thought at that point, he turned 36, maybe he was going down. But last year was a weird year, I'm really not counting it too much. He's back on his game, velocity's there, he's getting guys out... Right now, he looks good to go. And the interest is huge..."
Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young winner, owns a 2.83 ERA with 142 strikeouts in 105 innings this season. The veteran right-hander's WHIP is also at a career-low 0.88, and he started this year's All-Star Game for the National League.
Prior to the news from Rosenthal, MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported that Scherzer "strongly prefers" to be dealt to a West Coast club. The 37-year-old has 10-and-5 rights, which means he has the power to veto any trade offer.
If Scherzer -- who's in the final season of a seven-year, $210 million deal -- waives his no-trade rights, the sweepstakes winner would only have to pay one-third of the remainder of his $35 million salary this season, according to Rosenthal, and that money is entirely deferred to 2028. Of course, acquiring Scherzer would count against the luxury tax threshold, at about $12 million.
Scherzer was scratched from his start on Saturday with what the Nationals described as mild right triceps discomfort, and it's unclear whether he'll make his next scheduled start on Thursday.
The entire MLB conversation between Heyman and Tiki and Tierney can be accessed in the audio player above.