MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Scherzer has 7-year, $210M deal with Nats

Scherzer has 7-year, $210M deal with Nats

WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Max Scherzer agreed to terms on a seven-year deal with the Nationals late Sunday night. The value of the contract is $210 million.

The club announced the deal on Wednesday, shortly before holding a news conference to introduce Scherzer.

FOXSports.com reported that half of Scherzer's seven-year deal with the Nationals will be deferred; he'll receive $15 million per year for 14 years. That means he'll be on the Nats' books through 2028. Yahoo Sports reported that Scherzer's deal also includes a $50 million signing bonus to be paid out over an unspecified amount of time.

Scherzer, arguably the best free agent this offseason, joins a pitching staff that led the Major Leagues with a 3.03 ERA in 2014. Scherzer is familiar with general manager Mike Rizzo, who drafted the right-hander in the first round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft when Rizzo was the scouting director for the D-backs. Sent to Detroit as part of a three-team trade in December 2009, Scherzer went on to blossom with the Tigers, winning 82 games over five seasons and capturing the American League Cy Young Award in '13.

Scherzer's electric repertoire

In an email to MLB.com, outfielder Jayson Werth said the Nationals continue to show their commitment to winning a World Series title.

"Signing Max is good news," Werth said. "A commitment of that stature signals the organization is committed to winning long term and makes me proud to be a Nat. I look forward to playing defense behind Max and the rest of our pitchers and seeing the vision that brought me to DC through. I am excited and will continue to work hard and not rest until this group brings home a championship."

During the Winter Meetings in December, Rizzo said the Nats would not acquire a big-name pitcher unless they traded one of their starting pitchers. Yet Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister, who are free agents after 2015, and Stephen Strasburg remain on the roster.

Zimmermann, Fister and Strasburg were Washington's three best pitchers last season. Zimmermann won 14 games and pitched the team's first no-hitter on the last day of the season.

Fister, who was once a teammate of Scherzer's in Detroit, missed the first month of the season because of a lat strain, but he led the team in victories with 16 and had a 2.41 ERA.

Strasburg led the National League in strikeouts with 242, and it was the first time he pitched a full season without an injury or an innings limit.

However, a baseball source said it was "remote" that one of those pitchers would be dealt. It appears the Nationals want to try to go to the World Series with their current roster.

If the rotation remains intact, it would mean that right-hander Tanner Roark most likely would be placed in the bullpen. In his first full season, Roark went 15-10 with a 2.58 ERA in 31 starts. During the postseason, however, Roark was put in the bullpen and allowed the game-winning run against the Giants in Game 2 of the NL Division Series. Manager Matt Williams decided to go with a four-man rotation during the series.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.