(BaseballSTL) -- Let’s be honest here. The odds that St. Louis native – and Parkway Central alum – Max Scherzer actually signs on the dotted line with the Cardinals is infinitely small. He’s the marquee free agent in this year’s class and is represented by Scott Boras.
That should tell you about all you need to know. The Cards rarely involve themselves in those types of bidding wars.
Matt Holliday, you say? Nah. That was the exception to the rule. The Cardinals were in dire need of a transformative bat and had already given up what was significant resources at the time – turns out they gave up next to nothing – so bringing Holliday back was critical.
Signing Scherzer isn’t critical. The Redbirds already have a very nice starting rotation and they’re more than prepared to let Carlos Martinez’s talent fly. Adding the local star would certainly make them much more formidable. But it’s hardly a necessity.
Therefore GM John Mozeliak won’t make an offer that takes him anywhere near where he’d be uncomfortable going. The Holliday negotiations stretched that comfort factor because they needed him. Adam Wainwright’s recent negotiations did the same thing. Again, they needed him and his leadership.
That means I have little doubt the Cards probably have reached out to Scherzer’s camp and expressed interest. They probably have laid out what type of offer they’re prepared to make. It probably doesn’t exceed four years guaranteed.
And that last part right there is why this most likely won’t happen.
If Jon Lester can get six guaranteed years from the Cubs then the former Parkway Central Colt and Missouri Tiger can do the same. As good of a person as Max is, and as much as he probably wants to play in Busch Stadium, he isn’t immune to taking the best offer from teams.
The Cardinals won’t come close to being his best offer. And there won’t be any hometown discounts here.
The only – and I mean ONLY – chance the Cards have of landing the hometown star is if he doesn’t like the offers that are out there and instead of selling himself short on a long term deal he decides to negotiate a higher annual salary on a shorter term contract. That’s where the Cardinals could have a chance.
Mozeliak has shown a willingness to go relatively overboard with salary to minimize the risk in years. He’d rather overpay someone earlier in a contract when he knows he’ll be good and healthy as opposed to holding his breath several seasons down the road.
Adding Scherzer would make the Cardinals instant favorites in the National League because they’d field a rotation of Wainwright, Scherzer, Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha and John Lackey. That’s simply outstanding.
But subbing Carlos Martinez in for Scherzer isn’t the worst thing in the world. And the Cards level of interest and subsequent offer (if they even make one) will reflect that.