It's a big deal so of course I have more thoughts - but quickly
Why do I like ZNN more than Scherzer? Scherzer has been great for 3 years and is moving from the AL to the NL. I should love him. Guess what? I do. So why do I like ZNN better? Because :
ZNN is almost 2 years younger
ZNN was arguably better last year
ZNN has had a far lighter workload
ZNN fastball speed is remarkably steady
When I went over the big FA guys to see who the Nats should sign or not I could not find a single thing to worry about for ZNN. I can pick apart Scherzer if I want to. Little things here and there. I can't do that with ZNN. This, to me, given their very similar results last year, makes ZNN a much more appealing choice for a long term deal.
This doesn't mean I don't like Scherzer. He'll be great. Just that I don't mind years 5-7 for ZNN. I do for Scherzer.
I think the Nats should deal a starting pitcher. Of course this is all contingent on what they can get back but with Scherzer in the fold you can have a staff that will be expected to perform as well as last year, which was good enough to possibly be the best in the majors and help the team to 96 wins AND you can possibly get a high level prospect back. It's the best of both worlds. I don't worry about depth because Treinen looked ok and Cole looks ok. I am fine with those guys as the number 6. Of course if you'd rather just have a dominating staff that's fine but I don't think that's getting the most value out of this contract and the situation it sets up. Do I trade Fister? ZNN? Strasburg? All depends what I can get back. I do know I try dealing in that order.
But what about being all-in? Aren't I big on that? Yep I am. But if the Nats were all in then Zobrist would be here. Or they could have signed Sandoval and moved Rendon back to 2nd. Or they could try trading Giolito for Carlos Gomez. This is a big move, huge, but it's similar to the Soriano signing in that it makes the Nats better but it doesn't make the Nats the best team they can be. It doesn't fix a weakness (however mild that weakness may be). It makes something else stronger. I'd rather see a team try to get rid of all weaknesses. But we're quibbling here about how best to improve a mid 90s win team. Let's not lose sight of that.
Am I celebrating yet? No, let's calm down on all the "best rotation ever" talk or anything to do with 2015 or beyond. We're not there yet. There could be trades. There could be extensions. For right now the Nats have one great pitcher signed for the next few years. That's all we know. There is a lot more work that could be done depending on prospects developing or being brought in. All we can do is judge the deal when we hear what exactly it is and then we wait until the season starts and we know what the deal is with all these other guys.