Earlier this morning when announcing the departure of 2013 AL Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer from the Detroit Tigers, we noted his contract was likely around seven years, $180 million per various media reports. Turns out that was a little off.
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If by “a little” we really mean 10 pots gold.
Scott Boras pulled off the near impossible. With a rumored asking price of anywhere from $200 to $216 million, many of the bigger spenders in the game cast Max aside and ruled out signing him. And for months there was really no concrete movement.
All that ended yesterday when rumors began circulating that Scherzer was close to signing with Washington.
The Nationals seemingly came out of nowhere and put the full-court press on Max and landed him. For $180 million, that’s a lot–remembering the Tigers offered him $144 million last spring to sign long-term–but not nearly the amount that Scherzer was reportedly seeking.
Early this afternoon it was announced that Max’s contract is $210 million. That means it is an incredible $66 million more than Detroit offered last March. So while fans scoffed and said he was crazy to turn down that incredible amount, he looks like a genius now by accepting a shockingly high amount.
Washington is not absorbing that hit immediately though. Scherzer’s deal is structured in such a way that, in essence, it’s a 14-year contract instead of a 7-year contract, paying out $15 million annually. While Max and the Nationals are in a relationship through 2021 (when Scherzer will be 37-years old), Washington will be on the hook of paying him through 2028.
Max will be 44 by the completion of the full deal and will almost certainly be retired, but he could be playing in his late 30’s for another team, still collecting pay from the Nationals.
This is hardly the first time a deal like this has been struck in baseball. Bobby Bonilla is still collecting an annual salary from the New York Mets for a contract that was signed in 1992. He will continue to be paid until 2035 and has not played a major league baseball game since 2001.
Finally, it is worth nothing something about Scott Boras. Fans and teams hate dealing with him and you really want to hate him as a person for pricing out teams, but he does what he is supposed to for his players. I don’t think anyone actually thought Scherzer was worthy of $200 million plus, even with his recent successful track record and no one thought a team would pay him that sum.
But Boras pulled his devil magic one more time and proved to the fans he is ruthless, but also proved to the players he represents that he is well worth his high commission.