3 big free agents Yankees can target next offseason thanks to luxury tax

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Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

2. Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer’s been our dream one-year Yankees candidate forever.

Should the Yankees have signed Max Scherzer long-term following the 2014 season when he first hit free agency? Obviously. Yes. This is an obvious yes.

But as that deal wraps up in Washington — one of the few lengthy pacts that worked — the Yankees should still take aim at Scherzer’s age-37 season on either a one- or two-year deal that blows the tax number out of the ocean.

$20 million annually for that level of gumption, stuff, and leadership? Extremely fine! Very fine.

Scherzer — a client of Eric Cressey, the Yankees’ strength and conditioning whisperer who brought Corey Kluber to town — polished off his career’s greatest highlight in 2019 when he led the Nationals to the World Series. In the NLCS, he hurled a seven-inning one-hitter against the Cardinals with 11Ks. His two World Series starts were less exceptional, until you remember his Game 7 appearance came after full-body back spasms that nearly knocked him out of competition.

But he persevered.

If the Yankees had known what was good for them, Scherzer would’ve joined Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran (yuck) in pinstripes and crafted his Hall of Fame legacy on likely World Series teams in 2017 and 2019 (and 2018?). Instead, the team can now pay for his final few years in the game — and continue to reap the rewards. Worth 2.2 WAR in just 12 starts last year, Scherzer seems poised to be a legend ’til the end.