Might Max Scherzer return to Arizona?

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Cy Young winners for both leagues are being announced this afternoon - and a surprising rumor links one of the likely picks to the Diamondbacks. Good news it's not Clayton Kershaw.

Ken Rosenthal wrote this morning, "Count the Diamondbacks among the clubs that plan to take a shot at Scherzer, according to major league sources. The D-backs — like another interested club, the Nationals — know that they could part with less for Scherzer, who is only one year away from free agency, than for Rays lefty David Price, who is under club control for two more years."

My first instinct is to write this off entirely as pure speculation. After all, Max Scherzer is only under team control for 2014, and will then become a free agent, commanding a hefty price. Even for next season, as the probably Cy Young winner for the American League, he's likely looking at $10 million or more in his final year of arbitration - he took home just over $6.7 million this season. While Arizona might have the prospects necessary to pull off such a trade, and there's little doubt that Scherzer would improve our starting pitching significantly in 2014 [a rotation of Scherzer, Corbin, Cahill, McCarthy and Miley looks pretty good to me], would we have enough salary?

However, it gives me cause for concern, in regard to the status of Kevin Towers as GM, knowing that the team's performance next season will likely determine his continued employment with Arizona. While I don't want to get all political (and at least this is non-partisan!), it's a bit like the way how politicians enact the policies that are most likely to get them re-elected, not necessarily those which are best for the country long-term. Trading the farm for Scherzer would likely improve Towers' chances of a good 2014 season, resulting in a contract extension - albeit probably at a significant cost down the road.

While there's certainly something to be said for not handing out long-term contracts to the front office, this winter could conceivably illustrate the counter-argument. I'd like to think that Kevin Towers would put the long-term fortunes of the team, ahead of implementing any "win now, suck later" strategy to secure his job. But if your job security was contingent purely on performance over the next 12 months, I doubt many of us would be immune to the siren-call of short-term gains.

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