Max Scherzer to the Giants Makes More Sense Than Jon Lester


The winter meetings are upon us, and the free agent dominoes are likely to begin falling soon. While the most coveted free agent pitcher has been Jon Lester, it’s Max Scherzer that makes much  more sense for the reigning World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.

In simplest terms, both pitchers are 30, with Scherzer being the younger of the two by 201 days. It’s not their ages that is the biggest difference, yet the size of the workload over each player’s career. In nine seasons, Lester, a lefty, has thrown 1,596 innings, while Scherzer, a righty, has tallied 1,239 1/3 innings in seven years. It is because of that innings total that Max Scherzer is likely to have more longevity, and provide more value at the end of whatever mega contract he signs.

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Both pitchers will provide 200+ innings in any given season and have identical 3.58 career regular season ERAs. Lester has the more polished playoff resume, which could be the distinguishing factor between the two pitchers, and why Lester’s name is the one being mentioned incessantly in the rumor mill.

Here’s the thing. The Giants already have a decent (modesty never hurts, right?) lefty in Madison Bumgarner. Adding Scherzer as their #2, with Matt Cain to follow, the Giants would have a very formidable top of the rotation. While we all hope for the best from Cain in 2015, it’s uncertain if he’ll be the same player. It’s because of this that adding another top-notch righty to the staff would be a good play.

In the past two seasons combined, Scherzer has lost eight games. Eight. In 2014, with his incredible 2.46 ERA between Oakland and Boston, Lester lost eleven. The argument can be made that the Tigers just had a better offense than either the A’s or Red Sox, but at the same time, Scherzer keeps his team in games and hasn’t lost eleven games in a season since 2010.

Finally, either of these pitchers moving from the AL to the NL will help their stat line, especially facing an offensively weak NL West. Yet, Max Scherzer is a strikeout pitcher, averaging 241 per season over the past three seasons. He’ll get the big outs when he needs to, and being a Scott Boras client, he’s going to get the big money he deserves. The Giants should spend just a little bit extra on Scherzer this offseason, because the return on investment is likely to be much greater in the long run.