Experts all agreed that the Nationals could be the biggest threat to the Dodgers if they made the playoffs. The experts were right. The Nationals pitching rotation powered them to their first World Series.
Max Scherzer headlines that group of starters. Without Scherzer, the Nationals would most likely not be in this position. No matter how the Nationals have performed as a whole, Max Scherzer has always been a successful constant.
The Nationals were right to make him the highest-paid player in franchise history when they signed him to a 7-year $210 million contract in the 2014 offseason. When they signed him, he had only one season with a sub-3 ERA. Since his signing, he hasn’t recorded an ERA over 2.96. He’s been top 5 in Cy Young voting every year, winning 2 of them.
Gerrit Cole could be the Phillies’ Max Scherzer.
Cole had a monster season for the Astros and was one of their driving forces behind their World Series appearance. His 326 strikeout led all of baseball, while his 2.50 ERA led all American League pitchers.
In the playoffs, Cole surpassed those numbers. So far, Cole has recorded a 0.40 ERA in 22.2 IP. He’s allowed a single run while striking out 32. If the Phillies can sign him, his presence could be transformative.
The Phillies starters had the 5th worst ERA in the National League and 8th worst in the majors in fWAR for starters with 7.6. In comparison, Gerrit Cole posted a 7.4 fWAR in 2019. That’s how bad the Phillies rotation was in 2019. Gerrit Cole almost matched the value of the entire Phillies rotation.
Like Scherzer, Cole is a Scott Boras guy. Gerrit Cole will not come cheaply. Scherzer got 7 years, $210 million or $30 million a year. If we calculate the inflation on $30 million from 2015, it would come to just under $32.5 million in 2019. Don’t expect Cole to sign for even a $1 less.
When the Nationals signed Scherzer for 2015 and beyond, they were coming off an impressive 2014. Their top 5 starters posted ERA’s of 3.57, 3.14, 2.85, 2.66, and 2.41. They looked like the rotation wasn’t an issue.
The Phillies need a pitcher like Gerrit Cole to fix their biggest issue.
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports