The Nationals have reached an agreement on a seven-year, $210 million contract with starter Max Scherzer, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. The deal includes a deferral program that will pay Scherzer $15 million each year over the next fourteen years, meaning that the Nationals will be paying the right-hander through 2028.
SB Nation was the first to report that there was an increasing sense around the league that Scherzer would end up with the Nationals, though reports later in the day indicated that Washington and one other team were in the mix for the right-hander.
With the addition of Scherzer, who was the best available free-agent this winter, the Nationals are slated to have a rotation of Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez. Many reports today speculated that the team would be willing to trade from their starting surplus with Tanner Roark as a viable rotation option, and soon-to-be free agents Fister and Zimmermann join Strasburg as potential trade candidates.
Scherzer, who was also linked to the Tigers and Cardinals this winter, has been dominant over the past two seasons, winning the AL Cy Young award in 2013 after posting a 2.90 ERA in 32 games with Detroit before posting a 3.15 mark and winning nineteen games last season. His deal with the Nationals will lock him up through his age-36 season in 2021, providing long-term stability in what is shaping up to be one of the premier rotations in all of baseball.