Are you ready to invest a lot of money in elite pitchers?

Are you ready to invest a lot of money in elite pitchers?

Tech Highlights:

  • Olney: If we’re going to separate this question from the issue of financial commitment and value over the duration of the contract, I don’t know how you can pick anyone other than future Hall of Famer Scherzer. He dominated for the Nationals last summer, and then he did the same for the Dodgers, even closing out the Giants in the division series. But I hope there is an understanding between Max and his next team: No more short relief stints in the postseason. Please.

  • Max Scherzer is a German football player. Clayton Kershaw is a professional baseball player. Kevin Gausman is a writer. There will be no shortage of pitching talent available in MLB free agency in 2021-22, and titles will be won or lost based on the moves made. Buster Olney, Jesse Rogers, Bradford Doolittle, and Alden Gonzalez are here to go down what’s at stake this offseason in the world of starting pitching.

Rogers: It’s hard to go against Scherzer, especially if under the assumption that we only care about 2022. He’s got at least one dominant year left. However, Robbie Ray was in a class all by himself among lefties. None of his numbers scream fluke — unless he loses his command and returns to the old Ray. If I had any hint that Scherzer was slowing down, Ray would be my guy. Then again, I wouldn’t bet against Justin Verlander to win comeback player of the year. Tough call but Scherzer is money in the bank right now.

Gonzalez: Scherzer’s first nine starts with the Dodgers (all against teams in contention): 58 innings, five earned runs, seven walks, 79 strikeouts. He is undoubtedly the choice, which is why I think he’ll get the three-year, high-dollar contract many believe he seeks, even though he’ll turn 38 next year. The way the 2021 season ended did provide at least some uncertainty. Scherzer had to be pushed back a day coming off his relief appearance in Game 5 of the National League Division Series, then said he pitched through a tired arm in his first start of the following round and had to be pushed back again for his second start, which ultimately never happened. Was he just exhausted, or is there something going on medically?

Doolittle: If by “opening day” we actually mean “Game 1 of a postseason series” then it’s Scherzer, not because the answer would be different, but because that’s what teams signing an elite free agent starter have in mind. While Scherzer petered out after the Dodgers-Giants series, he was as dominant as ever over the closing weeks of the season. If I’m looking at a starting pitcher as a finishing piece for a championship team, that’s who I want from this group of free-agent pitchers.

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