Examining Scott Boras’ Max Scherzer Comments From Red Sox Perspective

Does Boston have any chance whatsoever of landing the Nationals ace before the MLB trade deadline?


Jun 29, 2021

Max Scherzer probably is a pie-in-the-sky trade target for the Boston Red Sox.

But with the Red Sox sweeping the New York Yankees at Fenway Park this past weekend and currently jockeying with the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East, why shouldn’t we at least entertain the possibility of Boston swinging a deal for the Washington Nationals ace?

After all, the Red Sox’s rotation has been up and down of late. And perhaps no player thus far kicked around in speculation ahead of the July 30 trade deadline is capable of shifting the balance of power quite like Scherzer, a legitimate front-line starter who instantly would become the best pitcher on almost any staff across Major League Baseball.

The fit is obvious. The cost of acquisition, however, might be prohibitive for the Red Sox, as chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom has made a concerted effort to beef up a previously frail farm system. It’s more likely Bloom works in the margins over the next month, addressing Boston’s needs with lower-profile moves, instead of going all-in for a high-priced star who’s set to become a free agent this offseason.

Which brings us to two notable developments in this hypothetical saga:

1) The recent comments made by Scherzer’s agent, Scott Boras.


2) The Nationals’ recent surge and upcoming schedule, which could determine whether Washington even makes Scherzer, among others, available before the deadline.

Let’s start with Boras, a man who’s never lost for words. He seemed to indicate last week to Gordon Wittenmyer of NBC Sports Chicago that any team trading for his client before the deadline would need to work out a contract extension with the three-time Cy Young Award winner, otherwise Scherzer won’t waive the full no-trade rights he owns by virtue of having 10-plus years of MLB service and the past five with the same team.

“The reality of it is it’s going to have to lead to something,” Boras told Wittenmyer, who added that the “something” means an extension.

Of course, this doesn’t preclude a trade from happening; it’s just another (potentially significant) hurdle to clear in working out the particulars of what already (presumably) would be a comprehensive deal given the $15 million annually the Nationals owe Scherzer in deferred payments through the 2028 season.

The Red Sox, in spite of their deep pockets, might be reluctant to commit too much to Scherzer, who turns 37 on July 27. They have their own contractual situations to consider — like shortstop Xander Bogaerts’ ability to opt out after the 2022 season, for instance — and always could pursue Scherzer this winter at a more reasonable rate.

Nevertheless, Boras since clarified his comments Sunday in an interview with Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post. Now, it appears, a contract extension isn’t required for Scherzer to waive his 10-5 rights.

“When players are traded, and you refer to contract amendments, it does not necessarily mean an extension,” Boras told Dougherty. “It could be any amendment that gives him a reason to exercise his rights. That’s up to the player at the time. Max and I have never discussed the subject.”

And why haven’t Scherzer and Boras discussed the subject? For one, the Nationals entered Tuesday having won 12 of their last 15 contests to reach the .500 mark (38-38) and to pull to within three games of the National League East-leading New York Mets (40-34).

” … But the reality of it is it’s a moot point knowing where they’re at,” Boras said, according to Dougherty. “(The Nationals are) competitive, and they’re going to be in this race all year long.”

The next few weeks could change the line of thinking, as the Nats have two games with the Rays, four with the Los Angeles Dodgers, four with the San Diego Padres and three with the San Francisco Giants — all good teams — to close out the first half. But Washington, at this point, is more likely to buy than sell, especially if the organization hopes to re-sign Scherzer this offseason.

So, to circle back: The Red Sox certainly can dream about adding Scherzer to a rotation that’ll also be welcoming back Chris Sale from Tommy John surgery over the next month or so. It’s just a dream that ultimately might not be realistic, all things considered.

Thumbnail photo via Sam Navarro/USA TODAY Sports Images
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