Should the Colorado Rockies pursue Max Scherzer in free agency?

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Against it: The overpay is too risky

Six years from now, Max Scherzer will be 36 years old. As if that isn’t a risky enough proposition to consider on its own, we have a cautionary tale to observe on Scherzer’s own team in Justin Verlander.

Verlander, at age 31, had no injury history and no real signs of concern entering this season. Suddenly his velocity is down, his numbers are worse, and the Tigers might even start kicking around the idea of using him out of the bullpen this season.

This season is 2014, in case anybody forgot. Verlander’s $180 million deal runs all the way through 2019, with yearly hits of $28 million starting next season. The Rockies aren’t talking about quite that much annual money in this hypothetical offer, but they still cannot afford to be paying $20 million for a guy like Scherzer if he were to start declining.

Scherzer is his own man, as is Verlander. Scherzer might hold up better or he might hold up worse. At this point, nobody knows, but there is going to be risk for any team that offers him a five-year deal, let alone the six-year deal under consideration here.

Teams can offer those kinds of overpays and get away with it, but it requires some creativity and open-minded management in the middle years of the contract to do so. That brings us to the final, and most important, argument against the Rockies even trying to sign Scherzer this off-season.