The Chicago Cubs need an ace. They had one, but ownership and the front office sent him packing to the Padres last winter. Now, the rotation is hanging by a Kyle Hendricks-shaped thread as the team stands on the edge of a knife, three games back in the division entering Monday.
Max Scherzer has been the most oft-mentioned potential trade target to this point. Yes, he’d also represent the costliest move the team could make, but what a difference he could prove to be. Alas, all this pondering and speculation has likely been for naught. Why? Because the veteran right-hander has plans of his own.
"“The reality of it is it’s going to have to lead to something (an extension),” Scherzer’s agent, Scott Boras told NBC Sports Chicago. “And the reality of it is a ton of people are going to ask … He’s probably the most coveted trade chip I’ve seen, because every team that’s in it needs him.”"
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The 36-year-old three-time Cy Young winner is, once again, his usual dominant self thus far in 2021. He’s worked to a 2.14 ERA in 15 starts and is rapidly closing in on the 3,000th strikeout of his big league career. To say he’d improve the Cubs’ shaky rotation is the understatement of the century.
But, again, it’s a moot point (or a ‘moo point’ for all you Joey Tribiani fans out there).
Scherzer turns 37 next month. Chicago isn’t about to hand out a high-dollar extension to someone that old. They’re just not. It doesn’t make sense given the makeup of the roster, the status of the organization’s top prospects or its financial footing (or so Tom Ricketts would have us believe).
Yes, he’d probably help get the Cubs back to October. But at what cost? Decimating a farm system that’s just starting to pick up steam and amass some names worth knowing? No chance. The whole logic behind the Yu Darvish trade (beside shedding payroll) was restocking a prospect pool that had been largely emptied via trades and promotions during the Theo Epstein era.
Chicago Cubs need more than just Max Scherzer to be World Series contenders
Even if Chicago went all-in and traded for Max Scherzer, the sad truth is this. Even then, this team isn’t World Series-bound. That still only gives you two legitimate October-worthy starters in Scherzer and Hendricks and the offense, which has managed a .186 average and .251 OBP this month, is like playing roulette on any given night.
Would Scherzer in Cubs pinstripes be cool? Absolutely. Is it going to happen? No. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.