Here’s how the Cardinals can pull off a Max Scherzer trade and not gut the farm system

MLB Trade Rumors, St. Louis Cardinals

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Max Scherzer trade rumors are heating up for the Nationals ace and the St. Louis Cardinals may be able to put together the best package for the pitcher.

The St. Louis Cardinals made their intentions known they plan on contending in the National League after acquiring third baseman Nolan Arenado from the Colorado Rockies and re-signing catcher Yadier Molina and pitcher Adam Wainwright. At the time of publishing, the Cardinals are in third place in the division with a 32-30 record and sit three games behind both the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs for first.

While things are going pretty well, the Cardinals’ starting rotation was pummeled by injuries. Jack Flaherty is out through the All-Star break with an oblique injury and Miles Mikolas is on the 60-day injured list due to a an elbow injury. The Cardinals can bolster their rotation by acquiring Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer this season, but what would it take to get him?

Cardinals: What it would take to acquire Max Scherzer

The Nationals are in the position to potentially sell Scherzer by the trade deadline because they sit in last place in the NL East. If they continue to slide further and further out of the postseason picture, they could benefit from trading the three-time Cy Young Award winner, who is set to become a free agent at season’s end.

Considering that Scherzer’s contract expires in the coming months, the Cardinals do have a slight advantage in trade negotiations. Make no mistake, the team will likely have to trade three of their top 15 prospects in the farm system. However, you probably can rule out the Cardinals trading any of their top three prospects for a rental, even one as good as Scherzer.

The Cardinals’ top three prospects are pitcher Matthew Liberatore, third baseman Nolan Gorman and catcher Ivan Herrera so while the Nationals may ask for them, the Cardinals will likely tell them to come back with an offer with lower-tier prospects.

St. Louis would likely part with a combination of a No. 4-6 prospect and a pair of top-15 prospects and maybe some lower-level minor leaguers to complete a trade for Scherzer to bolster their playoff chances.

Even with the Nationals situated at the bottom of the division standings, Scherzer is a bright spot on the team. Through 12 starts, Scherzer recorded a 2.22 ERA, a 0.818 WHIP and 104 strikeouts over 77.0 innings of work.

Scherzer would be a huge get for the Cardinals, as he was the one who got away from the organization. He grew up in Missouri and was drafted by the Cardinals in the 43rd round of the 2003 MLB Draft. However, Scherzer opted to play college ball with the Missouri Tigers.

The Cardinals have shown in the past that they are not afraid of making a deal at the trade deadline. If they want to keep up with the Cubs and Brewers in the quest for the NL Central crown and to contend for the 2021 World Series, then they must do what it takes to land Scherzer ahead of the deadline. Albeit without giving up one of their top three prospects.

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