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SF Giants: Building a Max Scherzer trade with the Washington Nationals

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) throws the first pitch of the season against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Nationals Park. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) throws the first pitch of the season against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Nationals Park. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)
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SF Giants, Max Scherzer
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 18: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals pitches in the third inning during a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Nationals Park on July 18, 2021. Will the SF Giants make a push to acquire the future Hall of Famer? (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

The July 31st MLB trade deadline is already inspiring a flurry of actions across the league. Sitting atop the National League West standings, the SF Giants are sure to be one of the most active teams. However, in the same division as the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, there might be even more pressure to upgrade their roster.

While many fans may clamor for a trade to acquire an elite closer or a middle-of-the-lineup bat, the majority of rumors have tied San Francisco to the starting pitching market than anything else. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported the Giants, Dodgers, and Padres were one of seven contenders among the most active in the market to upgrade their rotations. Now the only question remains how high each team is aiming.

SF Giants trade rumors: Could they acquire Max Scherzer?

The Padres and Dodgers front offices have both made their fair share of big splashes in recent years. On the other hand, the Giants have yet to make a big splash under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. After inheriting an organization lacking elite talent at the MLB and minor league level, Zaidi is now at the helm of one of the most well-rounded teams in the league. If there was ever a time to make his first big splash, these next few days could be the perfect opportunity to do so.

No starting pitcher on the market comes with a better track record than Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer. Arguably the best MLB pitcher over the past decade, Scherzer has continued performing at an elite level in 2021, despite turning 37 on Tuesday. Across 105 innings pitched, Scherzer has posted a 2.83 ERA, issued just 25 walks, and racked up 142 strikeouts. Most ERA estimators believe Scherzer was a bit lucky in the first half of the season (3.22 xERA, 3.47 FIP, and 3.37 xFIP) but remain confident in his abilities to perform atop a rotation.

If the SF Giants plan on going big at this year’s MLB trade deadline, they have to consider making a run at Scherzer. While the righty has a full no-trade clause and is a free agent at the end of the year, recent reports have suggested he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause and has a particular preference to end up on the West Coast. His agent also discussed possibly working out an extension as part of a deal earlier in the summer, which could allow the Giants to lock him into their rotation for years to come.

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