It would be difficult to envision a much more impactful addition for the stretch run for a contender than Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer, and that possibility is reportedly on the table.
"Max is a competitor," a source close to the pitcher said, per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. "If he thinks he has a chance to win, I think he would be open to several scenarios."
Feinsand explained Scherzer, who is a free agent following the 2021 campaign, has full no-trade rights as a 10-and-5 player. That would limit Washington's options in a trade, but there is sentiment that the right-hander would be alright with going to a contender if the Nationals are not realistic World Series threats.
"He doesn't strike me as a guy who likes sitting out of the playoffs," an American League executive said.
"He's a first-ballot Hall of Famer off to a great start," a National League executive said. "I'm sure he'll be a popular name."
Scherzer would be a popular name for good reason.
He is a three-time Cy Young winner and seven-time All-Star who helped the Nationals win the 2019 World Series. His stretch of dominance from 2013 through 2019 was one of the best in recent history, as he was an All-Star and finished in the top five of Cy Young voting all seven years.
While Scherzer is 36 years old, he has shown few signs of slowing down in four starts this year with a sparkling 1.80 ERA, 0.72 WHIP and 33 strikeouts in 25 innings.
The playoff-tested veteran would likely only be a rental, but he is also the type of ace who could spearhead a World Series run while cruising through a number of key October starts.