Let’s get this out of the way: Max Scherzer, one of the elite free agents, probably won’t be coming to St. Louis. He’ll probably sign with a large market team like the New York Yankees. I thought I’d take a look at him anyways and see if he’d be a good fit or not for the Cardinals.
As you can see, he’s made a bit of a leap these past two years, as both years he had a lower ERA than his career ERA. Same for his WHIP. This suggests a pitcher who’s made a leap to a higher level. Let’s compare those last two years (and career totals to the other premium free agent pitcher on the market, Jon Lester.
Comparison to Jon Lester:
Lester compares pretty well to Scherzer. Lester has more wins (and losses) but their ERA’s are identical and their WHIP’s are similar, with Lester’s being better. Scherzer has been more consistent the past two years. There is one difference though: Innings pitched.
Scherzer’s total innings pitched: 1239
Lester’s. total innings pitched: 1596
Roughly a 300 inning difference, or about roughly one and one fourth’s season difference.
As you can see, there is a bit of a difference. While each arm has a different threshold and every pitcher wears down at a different rate, I think it’s safe to assume that Scherzer may have a longer shelf life than Lester. While it may be only one season in the end, given that these two are looking for contracts of four years or more, Scherzer has better odds of maintaining his value for the life of his contract, especially if, at minimum the contracts are the afore-mentioned four years, they’ll each be at least 34 when their contracts are done.
Even with Scherzer possibly being more valuable over the life of his contract, he’s still not a match for the Cardinals for two reasons.
1) The Cards don’t like giving out large, long contracts to free agents as it limits their flexibility in the long term.
Would he look good on the Cardinals? Sure, but it’s not happening.
Rumor Mill Update: There’s a rumor going around that the Yankees have made a large offer to Scherzer, which if true, definitely rules out the Cardinals as there’s no way they’d match the Yankees.
As always, thanks for reading.