3:41PM: In another wrinkle to the situation, Scherzer was scratched from his scheduled start tonight against the Orioles due to what the Nationals described as “mild discomfort” in the veteran ace’s right tricep. (Jon Lester will instead take the ball for Washington.) The injury doesn’t appear to be serious, as Scherzer told MLB.com’s Jessica Camerato and other reporters that he expects to make his next start, and his triceps issue stemmed from a recent batting practice session rather than anything pitching-related.
11:12AM: The Nationals have long been one of the more stubborn teams in terms of maintaining the opportunity for contention, and that’s no less true this season. But with the Nationals playoff odds currently at 2.2 percent per Fangraphs, Max Scherzer is “being discussed in potential trades,” per Jon Heyman of the MLB Network (via Twitter).
Heyman makes no specific mention of the Nats’ decision-makers, however, and even if GM Mike Rizzo were open to moving the future Hall of Famer, he’d still need to get the okay from owner Mark Lerner. Historically, trading off pieces of any kind has been a tough sell to Lerner, let alone Scherzer, whom the club has long envisioned as the centerpiece of the organization.
Heyman is no doubt right that Scherzer’s availability would re-shape the trade market. He would be far and away the most impactful pitcher available. The 36-year-old shows no signs of slowing down with a 2.83 ERA through 105 innings this season.