WASHINGTON (AP) — Max Scherzer will become the highest-paid right-handed pitcher in the major leagues after agreeing to a $210 million, seven-year contract with the Washington Nationals that includes a record $50 million signing bonus.
A person familiar with the negotiations outlined the terms to The Associated Press on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the deal hadn’t been announced.
Scherzer, the 2013 AL Cy Young Award winner for the Detroit Tigers, will receive the money over 14 years, which will lower its present-day value.
The 30-year-old right-hander’s contract is the second-largest for a pitcher, behind only Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw’s $215 million, seven-year deal that runs from 2014-20. 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, who played for Detroit the past five seasons before becoming a free agent, turned down an offer from the Tigers last March that would have paid him $144 million from 2015-20, an average of $24 million per year.
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 plans to establish residency in Florida, which would shield his signing bonus from D.C. income tax, the person familiar with the negotiations said.
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.
All in all, for the Nationals, it’s a surprising move to upgrade an already imposing rotation after a relatively quiet offseason for the NL East champions.
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 best pitcher in the American League. 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.
That group already was considered among the best — if not the best — rotation in the majors. The question now is what move could come next for the Nationals, who might pursue a trade.
Zimmermann went 14-5 with a 2.66 ERA and 182 strikeouts in 199 2-3 innings in 2014, and he threw the first no-hitter in Nationals history on the last day of the regular season. But he can enter free agency after next season.
Last season, Strasburg was 14-11 with a 3.14 ERA and 242 strikeouts in 215 innings; Fister was 16-6 with a 2.41 ERA; Gonzalez went 10-10 with a 3.57 ERA, and Roark went 15-10 with a 2.85 ERA in 198 2-3 innings.
Gonzalez, third in NL Cy Young Award voting in 2012, is the only left-hander in the bunch.
Fowler traded from Astros to Cubs for Valbuena and Straily: HOUSTON (AP) — Outfielder Dexter Fowler has been traded from the Houston Astros to the Chicago Cubs for infielder Luis Valbuena and right-hander Dan Straily.
Fowler, 28, hit .276 with eight homers and 35 RBIs last year in his only season with the Astros, who acquired him from Colorado for outfielder Brandon Barnes and right-hander Jordan Lyles. 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.
The 29-year-old Valbuena played third base primarily last year but also saw time at second. He hit .249 with 33 doubles, 16 homers and 51 RBIs. Valbuena agreed Friday to a $4.2 million, one-year contract and can become a free agent after the 2016 World Series.
Straily, 26, was 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA last season in eight starts and six relief appearances for Oakland and the Cubs, who acquired him as part of the trade that sent Jeff Samardzija to the Athletics. He was 10-8 for the A’s in 2013.
Brewers trade Yovani Gallardo to Rangers: (AP) Pitcher Yovani Gallardo has been traded by the Milwaukee Brewers to the Texas Rangers for three players and cash.
Gallardo was 8-11 last year with a 3.51 ERA in 32 starts last season and 89-64 with a 3.69 ERA in an eight-year career with Milwaukee.
Infielder Luis Sardinas, and right-handers Corey Knebel and Marcos Diplan were dealts to Milwaukee as part of Monday’s trade, which could indicate the Brewers may try to pursue free-agent pitcher James Shields.
Gallardo’s contract specifies his 2015 salary increased from $13 million to $14 million when he was traded. Gallardo is eligible for free agency in November.
Milwaukee took Gallardo in the second round of the 2004 amateur draft out of Trimble Tech High School in Fort Worth, less than 20 miles from the Rangers’ ballpark. He lives in North Texas.
Outfielder Nori Aoki finalizes 1-year deal with Giants: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Free agent outfielder Nori Aoki has finalized his $4.7 million, one-year contract with the San Francisco Giants.
The team announced the deal Monday after he passed a physical. Aoki played last season with Kansas City, which lost the World Series to the Giants in seven games.
The 33-year-old from Japan will be formally introduced Tuesday at AT&T Park. He receives a $4 million base salary this year, and the Giants have a $5.5 million option for 2016 with a $700,000 buyout. The option can become mutual, and the deal includes performance bonuses.
Aoki hit .285 with a home run, six triples, 22 doubles and 43 RBIs over 132 games in his lone season with the Royals after two in Milwaukee. He also stole 17 bases.