National star Max Scherzer left tonight’s start against the Giants in the first inning after a visit from the coach. He appeared to be dealing with a lower body problem, according to Todd Dybas of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link).
Needless to say, Washington can afford a long absence from Scherzer. Kl. 25-33 nationals are hoping to stick to the post-season picture. Washington is already without Stephen Strasburg, who has been on the injury list since June 2 due to nerve irritation in the neck. Patrick Corbin have had a terrible season while Joe Ross have numbers below average. Jon Lester and Eric Fedde has been decent but unspectacular. (Fedde has missed the last three weeks after testing positive for COVID-1
Scherzer has been his usual incredible self in 2021. He went into play tonight with a sterling 2.22 ERA over 77 innings. Scherzer lacks an elite-level bat with a 36.1% tee rate, which ranks fifth among qualified pitchers. He only walks Jacob deGrom and Gerrit Cole in strikeout / walk rate difference (30.9 percentage points), while his 2.65 SIERA is fourth-lowest in the sport (behind deGrom, Cole and Joe Musgrove).
This level of dominance has certainly already inspired teams to call on nationals to measure Scherzer’s availability before the July 30 trade deadline. Washington has not traditionally been inclined to move star players, but with their playoff odds down to 2.7% (as per FanGraphs’ projections), there is a case that they should listen to offers on the upcoming free agent. (Scherzer actually has non-trade rights as a player with ten years of MLB service, five in a row with his current team). Even approaching its 37th birthday, Scherzer will be one of the more coveted arms on the market this winter. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently placed him tenth on his 2021-22 free agent rankings.