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Why did Arizona give up on Max Scherzer?

Dec 9, 2009, 1:42 PM EDT

To me the most surprising aspect of the big three-team Curtis Granderson trade is that the Diamondbacks were willing to give up on Max Scherzer, who just moments before the deal was talked up by Arizona manager A.J. Hinch as a future ace and has always looked to me like a potentially dominant starter.
Scherzer is 25 years old with a mid-90s fastball, makes the minimum salary, is under team control through 2015, and has a 3.86 ERA with 240 strikeouts in 226 career innings. So why would the Diamondbacks essentially swap him for Edwin Jackson, who’s a year older, about 20 times more expensive, eligible for free agency after 2011, and coming off a career-year that included a 3.62 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 214 innings?
ESPN.com’s Buster Olney has a possible explanation:

If the Diamondbacks viewed Max Scherzer as a can’t-miss, front-line type of pitcher, there is no chance they would have traded him early in his major league service time. Rather, there is some sentiment inside (and outside) the organization that with his unusual head-snapping mechanics, Scherzer is going to be at high risk for injury, and that eventually, he would probably have to be moved to short relief.

Along those lines, Steve Henson of Yahoo! Sports writes that the Diamondbacks dealt Scherzer “because they thought he lacked durability” before amusingly noting that “the Dodgers said same thing about Pedro Martinez in 1993.” I’m not ready to declare Scherzer the next Pedro, but it is odd that Arizona would make him the 11th pick in the 2006 draft, watch him blitz through the minors and rack up 240 strikeouts through 226 innings in the majors … and then deal him because he might break down or end up in the bullpen.
My prediction: Scherzer will win at least twice as many games for Detroit as Jackson will for Arizona, and he’ll do so while being significantly cheaper.

  1. Josh - Dec 9, 2009 at 1:57 PM

    Completely agree, Craig. I’m slightly sad to see Granderson leave, as he is a very fun player to watch, but the package of prospects the Tigers were able to bring back in return makes this is a very good deal for them (and of course a GREAT deal for the Yankees).
    A side note – keep up the great work from the Winter Meetings! You’ve become the first place to stop for updates on all the fun I’m missing while I sit at my desk and do the not-so-fun office work.

  2. chaspeek - Dec 9, 2009 at 2:12 PM

    I think you’re right-on!!

  3. Wells - Dec 9, 2009 at 2:20 PM

    Yo. Aaron penned the post, not Craig.

  4. Steve - Dec 9, 2009 at 2:32 PM

    What do you base your prediction on? That’s a pretty unsupported statement.
    Has anyone considered that Arizona’s competitive window might be too short to risk it to an injury to Scherzer? It seems to me like penciling Jackson into the #3 slot in the rotation is far less risky than doing the same with Scherzer. Without that quality #3 guy their chances for winning their division are markedly lower.
    So, with at most a 2 year window, they may view the lessened risk of losing Scherzer to injury more valuable than the missed potential of him developing into a #1 starter.
    I’m basing the 2 year window on the financial realization in Arizona. Over the next couple of years a number of their talented young players (Drew, Scherzer, Young, Upton, Reynolds, etc..) will be in line for big contracts and they simply cannot afford to pay them all.

  5. backlinks forum - Feb 8, 2010 at 1:13 AM

    Thanks for taking the top out to write this interesting topic.

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