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Nationals GM shares great line about Max Scherzer’s place in D.C. sports lore

Max Scherzer anchored a pitching staff that led the Washington Nationals to a World Series championship in 2019, and general manager Mike Rizzo correctly stated this week that the ace has more than secured his legacy in the Washington, D.C. sports pantheon.

Reflecting more broadly this week on Scherzer’s massive seven-year, $210 million free-agency deal the pitcher signed ahead of the 2015 MLB seaso, Rizzo delivered a great line about how Scherzer is all but assured to be treated as royalty in the D.C. area colloquially known as the “DMV” (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia).

“We feel good about it,” Rizzo said of Scherzer’s contract, via NBC Sports Washington. “Our mantra here is when we are talking that kind of years and that kind of money, we like to say that you’re signing the person more so than the player and the people that we’ve given these long-term contracts to are extraordinary people that happen to be great players. I think that’s the best way to kind of marry the two and yeah, we feel good about Max, his history with us, his presence and he’s a guy that will be in Nationals lore for a long time. [He is] a guy who probably won’t have to buy a drink ever again in the DMV.”

Scherzer enters the 2021 season in the final year of his big-money deal, and it’s safe to say that Nationals fans — and presumably the organization — collectively feel he’s earned every single penny.

What’s encouraging for the Nationals as it pertains to Scherzer going forward is that the ace appeared in midseason form in Wednesday’s outstanding appearance against the St. Louis Cardinals.

In a 42-pitch outing marking his second start of spring training, Scherzer had five punch-outs while yielding no hits in a dominant three-up, three-down-inning effort. The three-time Cy Young Award winner registered 95 mph on the radar gun.

“I did some things well,” Scherzer said, per MLB.com. “I thought I spun the ball pretty well. I also thought I was kind of leaving some balls arm side on a lot of executions that were maybe six inches arm side versus where I was actually trying to put the baseball. Those are the things that can get you in trouble in the regular season.”

The Nationals have not yet announced who will start the team’s April 1 showdown with the New York Mets on Opening Day, but Scherzer obviously would be a safe bet.