QUESTION: I'm probably dreaming, but ... Scherzer to the Cardinals? Does Hicks, Gomber, Griffin Roberts, and Montero get it done, or would it take more (maybe flip Gomber out for Reyes)?
GOOLD: Let's start here, Max Scherzer to the Cardinals is not an outlandish notion born of message boards and rumor-mongering. It would be a mulligan that the Cardinals would entertain. There are some hurdles to clear before we even get to the notion of what it would take to get a deal done. So let's go through this step by step to get to your answer.
First, Scherzer has to drive this. He would have to pursue a trade and want out and agree to one. He has a no-trade clause in his contract -- after this season. It clicks in with the 10/5 rights. So, if the Nats are eager to move him and he wants out, this would be the time for that decision to arrive. And it would be before the July 31 trade deadline of course. That creates the deadline -- and that gives us an understanding of Scherzer's power in it.
Let's talk money. He is owed $35 million per year in each year remaining on his contract, starting with this year. There is a whole lot of language in his deal for how its set up for luxury tax purposes and deferred payment. That said, the Nats are going to have to pick up some of that deal -- a bit each year. The Cardinals are going to study what they expect from Scherzer production wise in those years, agree to pay that part of the salary, and see where it goes. The more money a new team has to pick up on Scherzer's deal, the smaller the package of prospects they're going to give. That's the sliding scale. And that's where we arrive at your question.
Austin Gomber: Not healthy at this moment, working his way back. A good part of any trade, for sure. I would also include Jake Woodford in this same "bucket."
Jordan Hicks: Not being traded. Try another piece.
Griffin Roberts: Huge unknown at this point. Perceived by scouts and Cardinals as a quick-moving reliever. Not a player now who the team will build a deal around, not if the Nats want to get a more proven talent, a more proven pitcher from the upper levels who can start.
Elehuris Montero: Sure. The teams that are going to talk to the Cardinals about trades are going to zero-in on the talent at third base (Montero, Gorman, Nunez) and the pitchers. That's where they'll want to focus, and the pitching is often where teams want to shop when it comes to the Cardinals. The Cardinals may try to steer them toward the outfield. Say Jhon Torres, for example. But a deal of this magnitude is going to take a significant high-ceiling talent regardless of how much salary a team takes on, it just won't take multiple high-ceiling talents. There will be a centerpiece, and then complements.