In the 35 years since Major League Baseball pushed the trade deadline back to the end of July, never has a pitcher so thoroughly dominated his first seven starts with a new team as Max Scherzer has for the Los Angeles Dodgers over the past five weeks. The Dodgers already were the most talented team in baseball before the deal with the Washington Nationals. For them to get Scherzer, not to mention Trea Turner, was showing off. For them to get this version of Scherzer is just felonious.
Because even at 37 years old, even more than 2,500 innings into his no-doubt first-ballot Hall of Fame career, Scherzer looks the part of someone in his prime. His velocity remains potent, his five-pitch mix bewildering, his competitive fire conflagrant. If indeed there is a parallel to what Scherzer is doing, it came a generation ago from a pitcher similarly pedigreed. And if Scherzer can do over his final four starts this season -- the first of which comes Sunday against San Diego -- what he has done in his first seven with Los Angeles, the argument that he's the single greatest pitching pickup in the modern deadline era may have merit.