Max Scherzer’s $210 Million Makes Nationals MLB Title Favorite

The Washington Nationals are oddsmakers’ favorites to win the World Series after adding Max Scherzer to a starting pitching staff that led Major League Baseball with a 3.04 earned run average last season.

Scherzer, a two-time All-Star who won the 2013 American League Cy Young Award, signed a seven-year contract that CBS Sports said is worth $210 million. Scherzer will receive $105 million from 2015 through 2021 and the other half from 2022-28, CBS Sports said, without saying where it got the information.

With Scherzer’s return to the National League after five seasons with the Detroit Tigers, Washington’s odds of winning the World Series moved to 5-1 yesterday at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. The Nationals last week were the third favorite at 8-1 behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels.

Online sportsbook Bovada.lv lowered the Nationals’ title odds to 6-1, with the Dodgers at 8-1 and the Angels, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals tied at 12-1.

“Scherzer clearly solidifies the Nats as the favorite in the N.L. and for the World Series ahead of the Dodgers, adding to an already sick rotation,” said Bovada sportsbook manager Kevin Bradley. Because of heavy wagering, Bovada’s odds for the Nationals have dropped from 10-1, even though the Nationals have yet to confirm the signing.

News Conference

The Nationals scheduled a news conference for this afternoon in Washington.

Scherzer, a 30-year-old right-hander, joins a Nationals staff that in 2014 was composed of Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark. Washington had an NL-best 96-66 record before losing to the eventual World Series-champion San Francisco Giants in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Scherzer went 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA for the Tigers last season, tying for the AL lead in wins for the second year in a row. He won the Cy Young as the AL’s best pitcher in 2013 after logging a 21-3 record with a 2.90 ERA.

Over seven major league seasons with the Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks, Scherzer is 91-50 with a 3.58 ERA. He was selected by the Diamondbacks in the first round of the 2006 amateur draft by Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo, who then was Arizona’s scouting director.

Scherzer’s contract has the second-highest total value for a pitcher, trailing only the $215 million, seven-year deal that Clayton Kershaw received from the Dodgers. The biggest previous contract for a right-handed pitcher was the $180 million that Justin Verlander got from the Tigers over seven years.

Fox Sports reported that the Nationals are seeking to trade Zimmermann, who went 14-5 with a 2.66 ERA last season. Zimmermann will become a free agent after the 2015 season.

(A previous version of this story corrected a date in the second paragraph to 2021 from 2012.)

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