September 23, 2021

How Gerrit Cole stacks up against the best free-agent pitching signings (The Athletic)

When Gerrit Cole took the mound for Game 1 of the World Series opposite the Nationals’ Max Scherzer, the matchup was more than a confrontation between two aces, two Cy Young Award candidates, or even a past winner, 35-year-old three-time winner Scherzer, and a potential future winner, the 29-year-old Cole, who could claim the American League award this week. It was also a matchup between the top free-agent pitcher, Cole, and the best possible outcome for the team who signs him.

The AL Cy Young Award winner in 2013 and a free agent after the 2014 season, Scherzer signed a seven-year contract with the Nationals in January 2015. The contract guaranteed Scherzer $210 million, though its actual value was slightly less in 2015 dollars because half of the money is being deferred without interest. The money hardly seems to matter, in retrospect.

With the Nationals, Scherzer emerged as the best pitcher in the major leagues, eclipsing the former titleholder, Clayton Kershaw.

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