Reports: Nats to sign Max Scherzer to seven-year deal

The Nationals are closing in on a deal with right-hander Max Scherzer, the top free agent available this offseason, according to multiple reports.

Update: Reports have the Nats signing Scherzer to a seven-year contract, and FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal says the deal is worth more than $180 million.

scherzer-tigers-looking-in-distance-sidebar.jpgA first-round pick of the Diamondbacks in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft when Nats general manager Mike Rizzo was Arizona’s scouting director, Scherzer has emerged as one of the top right-handed starters in the big leagues over the last few seasons.

Scherzer, 30, went 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA last season. Over the last three years, he is 55-15 with a 3.24 ERA and 723 strikeouts in 622 1/3 innings.

He is represented by Scott Boras, who reps numerous other Nationals clients and has negotiated free agent contracts with the team in recent years for Jayson Werth and Rafael Soriano, among others.

Rizzo is typically against long-term deals for free agent starting pitchers due to the large financial commitment and lack of success of past deals around baseball. A signing of Scherzer would represent a departure from that line of thinking.

If the Nats do sign Scherzer, they will obviously have a glut of starting pitchers. This could lead to a trade involving either Jordan Zimmermann or Doug Fister - who both are set to be free agents after the 2015 season - or potentially even one of the team’s other starters.

The Nats could also choose to keep Scherzer, Zimmermann, Fister, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark, turning what might have already been the best rotation in baseball into a fully star-packed one.

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