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Potential Max Scherzer trade logistics are ‘moot’ with Nats in contention, Scott Boras says

Max Scherzer is in the final season of a seven-year deal with the Nationals. (Mark Brown/Getty Images)
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MIAMI — Last week, an NBC Sports Chicago report indicated Max Scherzer would require a contract extension to approve a trade at next month’s deadline, should the Washington Nationals fade from contention and wind up selling. The story quoted Scott Boras, Scherzer’s agent, saying, “The reality of it is it’s going to have to lead to something.” And something, the story stated, meant Scherzer would want a contract extension to remain with his new club beyond 2021.

But Boras told The Washington Post on Sunday that he and Scherzer have not talked parameters for a trade, nor would a hypothetical trade partner for the Nationals need an extension in place to land the 36-year-old ace. Scherzer’s wishes are relevant because his 10-and-5 rights (10 years of major league service, five with the same team) require him to approve any deal.

“Because he is where he is contractually, he’s going to have a lot of these things talked about,” Boras said in a phone interview about Scherzer, who is in the final season of a seven-year, $210 million deal. “But the reality of it is it’s a moot point knowing where they’re at. They’re competitive, and they’re going to be in this race all year long.”

Asked to clarify what “something” meant in the NBC Sports Chicago report, Boras said: “When players are traded, and you refer to contract amendments, it does not necessarily mean an extension. It could be any amendment that gives him a reason to exercise his rights. That’s up to the player at the time. Max and I have never discussed the subject.”

Multiple people with knowledge of the situation said Scherzer has not brought any trade demands to the Nationals. They also said if Scherzer were traded before the end of this season he would remain open to returning to the Nationals. But as Boras noted, the Nationals have drastically changed their position in recent weeks, climbing to within four games of the New York Mets in the National League East.

It took a 9-1 stretch, then a split with the Miami Marlins this past weekend, to land at 37-38. Washington hasn’t been over .500 since starting 1-0.

The Nationals will host the Mets for one game Monday, face the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers at home, then travel for series with the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants before the all-star break. It’s a tough stretch that could determine how they approach the July 30 deadline. Should they slip down the standings, other teams could be interested in Brad Hand, Kyle Schwarber, Daniel Hudson or Yan Gomes, among others. But Scherzer has the name and the Hall of Fame pedigree that will keep generating headlines in the coming weeks.

The trade chatter began in April. The Nationals can now dictate whether it remains.

“This is what you play for: You want to play the best teams in the game,” Scherzer said Sunday after he logged six innings in a 5-1 win over the Marlins. “We have a stretch where we’re playing a bunch of really good teams across the league. We got to take care of business.”