Max Scherzer might not be the cheapest option left on the market, but in nobody's mind is he not the most desirable. Because let's be honest with ourselves: signing Scherzer would make the Yankees' rotation elite.
Scherzer would bring a second ace to New York along with Masahiro Tanaka, and turn the high-quality Michael Pineda into a no.3. He'd take some weight off the recovering Ivan Nova, and help cancel out some of CC Sabathia's possible struggles.
So really, why are the Yankees not doing everything they can to acquire him? Sure, he'd cost a lot, but isn't that tolerable when a playoff spot's part of the package? It should be, and signing or not signing Scherzer will decide whether the Yankees are playing in October next season no matter how much the club's front office says otherwise. Here's why:
1. Each starter's recent performance: For this exercise, we'll use previous season WAR to compare the rotation options. Scherzer had one of 6.0 last year, Tanaka 3.3, Pineda 2.7, and Nathan Eovaldi 0.2. As for Nova, Sabathia and Chris Capuano, theirs respectively read 3.6, 0.3, and -0.6 in 2013, since none of them started much last season. That being said, assume the best-case scenario of all starters remaining healthy includes Capuano getting sent to the bullpen if Scherzer's signed and for the sake of the exercise, Eovaldi going to the 'pen as well when Nova comes back from Tommy John surgery.
That leaves the rotation with Scherzer, Tanaka, Pineda, Sabathia and Nova. Now let's again assume something, that each of those five have the same WARs next year. Nova's is 3.4 wins better than Eovaldi's, and Scherzer's is 6.6 wins better than Capuano's. That's 10 wins more, nicely giving the Yankees approximately 94 (they went 84-78 in 2014) in 2015. And keep in mind, that number being a little lower still wouldn't hurt anything.
2. The offense will likely be worse next season: I know Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and others might do better next year, but they also might do worse. None of them are getting any younger and basically, the Yankees can't expect them to improve, convenient as them doing so would be.
So where am I getting the title to this point? Well, Didi Gregorius didn't exactly hit much better than Derek Jeter did last year, Rob Refsnyder/Jose Pirela probably won't match Martin Prado's .282/.321/.412, and Alex Rodriguez is no Ichiro. I guess there could be some surprises here, but you obviously can't count on that to carry the team.
What are your thoughts? Is Scherzer the answer, or just a big check?