Dodgers Nation Roundtable: Max Scherzer Or James Shields?

Max Scherzer, James Shields

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While the Los Angeles Dodgers have addressed their starting rotation by signing Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy, and trading for Mike Bolsinger and Juan Nicasio, another addition may still be in the cards.

Max Scherzer and James Shields remain free agents and the Dodgers, because of their financial resources and desire to win now, are routinely mentioned as a potential landing spot for either of the two.

After saying they would no longer pursue starting pitching immediately after the Anderson signing was made official, Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi didn’t rule out signing Scherzer or Shields in a recent interview with MLB Network Radio.

Although it’s far from given the Dodgers would make the financial commitment to one of the right-handers, the Dodgers Nation staff weighed in on which pitcher the team should sign.

Matt Borelli (@DodgersIn2015)

While I wouldn’t mind either in the rotation, I prefer the Dodgers sign Scherzer over Shields because he’s an elite talent. For one, he’s only 30 years old and has averaged roughly 197 innings per season since 2009.

Scherzer is still pitching in his prime while proving to be very durable, and it’s not often those kind of pitchers hit free agency. In the last two seasons, he’s combined for 12.0 fWAR, third in that span behind Clayton Kershaw and Felix Hernandez. His career 10.29 K/9 and 2.57 BB/9 are superb, as well.

Both pitchers require draft compensation, and it only makes sense to sign the better of the two in order to maximize value. Yes, Scherzer will probably cost near the $200 million range, but with Zack Greinke likely opting out after the season and concerning injury histories for Hyun-Jin Ryu, McCarthy, and Anderson, this is a no-brainer for the Dodgers.

Jared Massey (@JaredJMassey)

I’ll take Scherzer. Both will likely command contracts in excess of $100 million, with Scherzer certain to make considerably more than Shields. However, if you’re going to commit $20 million a year to a pitcher, you want someone who pitches like an ace. That’s Scherzer.

Shields, on the Dodgers’ staff, would be their No. 4 starter, and I don’t feel comfortable giving that big a contract to a No. 4 pitcher. Sure, he eats innings and keeps the ball on the ground, but pitchers are only durable until they aren’t.

Shields has pitched nearly 1,000 innings over the past four years and he just turned 33. Plus, his strikeout rate has dropped over the past few seasons. Scherzer, on the other hand, has improved dramatically over the past few seasons, thanks in large part to him gaining more confidence and effectiveness with his changeup.

Plus, he’s only 30 and is durable enough, making at least 30 starts each year since 2009. Even though his delivery makes me queasy, it seems to work for him. Scott Boras won’t make agreeing to a contract easy, but he has a much better chance of being worth it.

CONTINUE READING: Unanimous Or Split Decision?

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