Should the Baltimore Orioles go after Scherzer?


Max Scherzer (formerly of Detroit) might well be the biggest name left on the free agent market this year. If you followed the Baltimore Orioles five years ago you might not believe I’m saying this; but the fact is that the O’s probably don’t need another pitcher (on paper, that is). If the past couple of years is any indication, the likes of Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen, et al, will probably suffice to help the O’s to remain in contention. But…

…the fact is that Scherzer is still out there and available. And that in and of itself is something that’s incredibly surprising to me. His career 3.58 ERA and .645 win percentage is certainly enough to get him a decent contract with a contending team. I suspect that part of the issue is the asking price (he’s a Scott Boras client), and part of it also might be the circumstances of his career. Scherzer’s played for Arizona and Detroit, both of which are pitcher’s parks. While that shouldn’t make too much of a difference, it does make a difference.

Courtesy of Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Nevertheless, I could easily see Scherzer being this year’s Nelson Cruz signing in the sense that he holds out for a price and ends up taking less just to find a spot. The question is with whom he’ll end up signing. The O’s would be crazy not to have an interest in Scherzer, even if only a mild interest. They might not have a huge need for a guy like him per se, however the fact is that Scherzer’s an ace – even more so than Chris Tillman.

The fact is that Scherzer would be a great acquisition for the O’s no matter how you look at it. He could possibly push Ubaldo Jimenez to the bullpen, or something along those lines. However keep in mind that the Birds have been looking for help in the outfield this off season more so than anything else. But signing a pitcher the caliber of Scherzer could kill two birds with one stone for the O’s. That would potentially make some of their existing pitching more expendable.

So in going after someone like Scherzer, the O’s could then perhaps look to trade someone such as a Bud Norris, or Miguel Gonzalez. And with the name Orioles’ pitchers have made for themselves the past couple of years, that might well net the Birds a decent outfielder or perhaps a prospect to re-stock their system.

I’ll be honest; I think this is all somewhat of a shot in the dark. Now I would have said the same thing about Nelson Cruz coming to Baltimore at this time last year, but I think the likelihood of Scherzer landing with the Orioles is low. My personal opinion is that he might hold out further until the end of the month before staying with Detroit, perhaps with a short-term contract. But so long as he’s still out there unsigned, the Birds would be foolish not to at least keep him in consideration.

The Orioles yesterday also reached a minor league agreement with an invitation to spring training with former Blue Jay, JP Arencibia. This could resemble last year’s Delmon Young signing, and my personal opinion is that Arencibia is a guy of whom we’ll see a lot in 2015.