Sometime in the not so distant future, tons of Washington Nationals fans wearing the “Curly W” on their hats and jerseys will flood Cooperstown, New York. They’ll gather in the tiny hamlet to watch Max Scherzer be inducted as the first-ever Washington Nationals player in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Now, hold onto and think of that moment for a second, take a deep breath, and now exhale… With the Nationals currently in last place and looking up in the standings, we are all wondering what will happen next? There have been many rumors that the Nationals will be sellers at the trade deadline and Scherzer, one of our favorite pitchers, might be on the move.
There have been many conversations on the internet dedicated entirely to whether the Nationals should or shouldn’t trade the future Hall of Famer to help the team restock their nearly bare farm system. We at the Nats Report are as guilty of this as anyone. We have already written about it a couple of times and even talked about it alot during the offseason. We all hoped that this conversation would never occur, and it might not. There are many emotions in this discussion, and “alot” isn’t even the correct word.
Since arriving in Washington on a 7-year/$210,000,000 contract (including a $50,000,000 signing bonus) back in 2015, watching Scherzer pitch has become appointment viewing for Nats fans every five days. There have been so many great memories that he has provided Nationals fans: from the Hershey syrup celebrations to his Major League record-tying 20 strikeout game in 2016.
Oh, and let’s not forget the incredible performances during the National’s historic run in 2019, like the June victory over the Phillies where he struck out 10 batters in seven scoreless innings the day after breaking his nose in batting practice. Did we forget to mention his performance in the World Series-clinching Game 7 just three days after an injury kept him from starting Game 5 at Nats Park?
Many feel that if the Nationals move him at the MLB trade deadline on July 31st, his accomplishments as a Washington National will be wiped away because he might retire after a successful run with a different team. I’m afraid I have to disagree with that. I adamantly disagree.
In his seven years with the Washington Nationals, Scherzer’s record is 89-47 with an ERA of 2.76 in 183 starts. Scherzer has a total of 1,567 strikeouts with the team and has only given up 142 home runs. Scherzer has also started more Opening Day games (5) and World Series Games (3) than any other pitcher in Washington Nationals history. With the Nationals, Scherzer has also appeared in three postseasons, 2016, 2017, and 2019 and, in addition, has represented Washington in five consecutive All-Star Games.
“I’ve always said the beautiful thing about Max is he competes every single day… I mean, he’s trying to get better every single day. I can only speak volumes of what he does for the rest of these guys as well, the intensity he puts in — in the gym, when he’s running. Here’s a guy that takes pride in the game of baseball.”DAVE MARTINEZ, JUNE 10, 2021 PRESS CONFERENCE
Oh, and don’t forget he also tossed two no-hitters and won two Cy-Young Awards with the team. Over those seven seasons, Scherzer ranks in the top 5 among all starters in innings pitched, ERA, WHIP, strikeouts, strikeouts per nine innings and batting average against (first, third, second, first, second and first, respectively). His Cy Young finishes over the first five years of the deal: fifth, first, first, second, third.
Besides the amazing numbers, there has been more to Max as a Washington National. Just look at 2019. During that season, there were so many Scherzer highlights, like him striking out former Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper in his first at-bat back at Nats Park. However, the one moment that will forever live with us was the iconic picture of him raising the Commissioner’s trophy behind the U.S. Capitol. Regardless of what the future brings, this picture, this image, will be forever ingrained in the hearts and minds of all Washington Nationals fans. It doesn’t matter where he finishes his Hall of Fame Career.
All the amazing moments we have witnessed firsthand can’t be taken away from us, regardless of what happens over the next few weeks and what uniform, if any, he wears next. Certain players will forever be associated with the Washington Nationals, from Ryan Zimmerman to whoever is next (cue, Juan Soto and Trea Turner). Max Scherzer will forever be a Washington Nationals!
We will see his number retired in the Ring of Honor at Nats Park and there will be a “Max Scherzer Day,” before his induction into the Baseball Hall Fame in Cooperstown. During that day, Nationals fans who were there to witness history will tell their children and grandchildren about all the gutsy performances they saw Scherzer make. The types of performances that are becoming rarer in the age of baseball when pitch counts and “bullpen” games have become the norm.
For all of Scherzer’s amazing accomplishments over the past seven years that are now in the record books, the Washington Nationals will appear next to his name as the team that he achieved them with. That can’t be erased. They are frozen in time forever, no matter what team he plays with next. But most importantly, when Nationals fans gather years from now on a hot summer day in a small town in upstate New York to complete the narrative of his amazing career, Scherzer will be wearing a “Curly W”. And that is what matters. It’s not the team that he might have finished his career with. It’s the team
that will be under his picture in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown for generations and generations to come that will matter the most.
We all know that the team will be the Washington Nationals.