Max Scherzer, the 2013 AL Cy Young Award winner, will become the highest paid righthanded pitcher in major league history after agreeing to a $210 million, seven-year contract with the Washington Nationals that includes a record $50 million signing bonus.
It creates a formidable rotation for the Nationals — who could try to boost the rest of their roster by trading one of their other starters.
Washington is now the 4-1 favorite to win the World Series, down from 6-1 odds when the offseason started.
Scherzer’s signing bonus tops the previous high of $30 million for any player, given by the Cubs to pitcher Jon Lester this offseason.
Scherzer, who spent the past five seasons with the Detroit Tigers before becoming a free agent, will receive the money from the Nationals spread out over 14 years, which lowers its present-day value.
The 30-year-old righthander’s contract is the second-largest for a pitcher, behind only Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw’s $215 million, seven-year deal. The previous high for a righty was the $180 million, seven-year agreement from 2013-19 signed by Justin Verlander, another Cy Young Award winner for the Tigers.
Scherzer turned down a $144 million offer from Detroit last March that would have paid him an average of $24 million per year between 2015-20.
The Nationals will lose what would have been the 27th pick in June’s amateur draft, while the Tigers will gain an extra pick after the first round.
Scherzer was 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA in 2014, a year after going 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and being voted the AL Cy Young. He now joins a club whose starting staff in 2014 included Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister — Scherzer’s former teammate with the Tigers — Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark.
Rangers acquire Gallardo
The Milwaukee Brewers traded pitcher Yovani Gallardo and $4 million of his $14 million salary to the Texas Rangers for infielder Luis Sardinas and righthanders Corey Knebel and Marcos Diplan.
“It definitely means a lot. I grew up here, went to high school here,” said Gallardo, who lives in North Texas.
Gallardo, who turns 29 next month, was 8-11 last year with a 3.51 ERA and 89-64 with a 3.69 ERA in an eight-year career with Milwaukee.
Gallardo’s contract states his 2015 salary increased from $13 million to $14 million with the trade. Gallardo is eligible for free agency in November.
The deal could indicate the Brewers might pursue free-agent pitcher James Shields.
Fowler dealt to Cubs
Outfielder Dexter Fowler was traded from the Houston Astros to the Chicago Cubs for infielder Luis Valbuena and righthander Dan Straily.
Fowler, 28, hit .276 with eight homers and 35 RBI last year in his only season with the Astros. Fowler, who has a .271 career average, asked last week for $10.8 million in arbitration and was offered $8.5 million. He is eligible for free agency after the season.
• Free agent outfielder Nori Aoki finalized a $4.7 million, one-year deal with the San Francisco Giants.
• The St. Louis Cardinals will wear uniform patches this season to honor the late Oscar Taveras. The rookie outfielder died last October in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic. The patches feature Taveras’ initials and his No. 18.
• Pitcher Erik Bedard, 36, agreed to a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers and has been invited to big league training camp.