Ever since Max Scherzer turned down a $144 million offer from the Detroit Tigers last March, speculation has been rampant about which team he would sign with and how much his contract would be worth.  Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reported in early December that Scherzer’s asking price was around $200 million, but throughout the free-agent process, he stayed in the shadows.

But his agent, Scott Boras, came through again in a big way late Sunday night, as Scherzer inked a seven-year, $210 million deal with the Washington Nationals.

That he signed with the Nats is a bit surprising due to their already-loaded starting rotation.  Last year, they led Major League Baseball with a 3.03 staff ERA.  The prevailing philosophy is that you can’t have too much pitching, but if anyone is tiptoeing that line, it’s the Nationals.  With Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez, Washington has one of the best five-man rotations in recent memory.

The rotation is so good that Tanner Roark, who had a terrific season last year with a 15-10 record and a 2.85 ERA, will likely be moved to the bullpen.

However, the Nationals have made it known, according to Morosi, that they are willing to deal Zimmermann or Strasburg if the price is right.  While they would undoubtedly be able to receive a talented prospect package in return, I think it would be best to keep this quintet intact.

Nationals owner Ted Lerner and has made it known he wants to win, according to his son, Mark, via The Washington Post‘s Barry Svrluga.  It is for this reason as well as long-term considerations that he opened the checkbook for Scherzer.  Scott Boras seems to prefer negotiating with ownership, as opposed to management, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, and he must have convinced Lerner that Scherzer gives the team the best chance for a ring.

It would be hard to argue with that logic.  Even before the Scherzer signing, the Nationals’ roster was loaded.  Now with Scherzer toeing the rubber every fifth day, they are the best team in professional baseball.

The offense, led by Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond, will score plenty of runs, and the dominant pitching staff will be nearly impossible to score on.  It’s a recipe for success, but having the best team on paper does not mean a championship is on the horizon.

Health is supremely important in all sports, but especially in baseball.  It is very rare that a team will go the entire 162-game season without losing a significant piece, and Harper, Werth, Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman have all battled injuries in the past.

Unfortunately for the Nats, the World Series is not won on paper.

Both the Dodgers and Angels have drastically increased their payrolls and substantially improved their rosters in recent years, yet neither has won a championship in that time.

But while there might not be a way to secure a playoff spot or deep playoff run before spring training has even started, Washington is doing its best.  There are still some questions looming, most notably whether the team can keep all five dominant starting pitchers.  Also, the Nationals need to improve their bullpen.  They are not expected to re-sign last year’s closer, Rafael Soriano, and they traded setup specialist Tyler Clippard for Yunel Escobar.

Drew Storen is expected to be the closer after he finished 2014 with a flurry, not allowing a single earned run in his final 20 innings pitched.  A deep, talented bullpen is almost a necessity to continue playing deep into October, and adding a few relievers should be on top of general manager Mike Rizzo’s to-do list.

So while the Nationals are the favorites to win it all this year, at 6-1 odds according to Odds Shark, it is impossible to crown a champ in January.  But the Nationals have done enough to be serious contenders, and if they find a way to keep their starting rotation together while also adding a few consistent relief pitchers, they are my choice to win the 2015 World Series.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com