Astros: Could a Max Scherzer trade be worth exploring?

Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s no secret. The Houston Astros are looking for a rental pitcher at the deadline, but could they look to a starter? Depending on who is available, Max Scherzer has been rumored as a trade topic this season, and if he lands in Houston, not only is the rotation bolstered but also the bullpen.

The future Hall of Famer knows Minute Maid Park well, as he brought home his only World Series ring against the 2019 Astros. After a dreaded appearance on Thursday night, don’t take that into account on how his season is going.

Scherzer surrendered a grand slam to Daniel Camarena, a 28-year-old rookie reliever. This isn’t something worth applauding, but the right-hander has been lethal this season, although not making the All-Star team.

With Max Scherzer possibly on the trade block, what would it cost to bring him to Houston?

At 36-years-old, Scherzer is only a week from turning the page to 37 in his 14th season in MLB. From Cy Youngs to All-Star appearances, it makes sense to think highly of the right-hander, as it seems the Astros are going all-in or bust mentality with the luxury tax threshold not restricting the front office.

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The Zack Greinke trade shipped away some of the Astros’ top prospects for a heavy contract over two more seasons. With most of the money deferred, the case is different for Scherzer. It shouldn’t take the same haul to bring Scherzer to the Astros for only three months. While making $34,503,480 in 2021, this number prorated would still put it over the luxury tax threshold.

Scherzer still comes with a hefty tag, but with a 2.66 ERA and a 12.3 strikeout per nine, the right-hander is far from washed. While a bullpen arm makes the most sense, adding Scherzer would bolster the depth of this rotation, that has seen its minor-league depth fall to season ending injuries. It is too far into the future to see how the bullpen stands, but the rotation could look like: Greinke, Scherzer, Framber Valdez, Jose Urquidy and Lance McCullers Jr. with Luis Garcia and Jake Odorizzi at disposal.

This all comes down to if the Washington Nationals are sellers with their recent win streak and banged up AL East. The package would have to include at least one top ten prospect or a rising pitcher like Bryan Abreu. The Astros have done it for Justin Verlander and Greinke before, could they unload again?

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