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Winter Meetings 2014: Max Scherzer conspiracy alert! Unidentified owners meet with Boras on free agent

Can you tell me it's NOT happening? No, I will NOT remove my tinfoil hat. It protects my precious bodily fluids.

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Take a trip down the rabbit hole, will you?

Jon Heyman is reporting that two unidentified team ownerstraveled to San Diego on Tuesday to meet with Scott Boras. The purpose? Free agent starter Max Scherzer's market price.

Those owners are unidentified, but the Scherzer market will start to develop in earnes now that the other top free-agent pitcher, Jon Lester, is off the board, signed with the Cubs for $155 milion over six years.

Scherzer is aiming much higher than that, as has been known for a long time. He turned down $144 million over six years from the Tigers.

Now, Evan Drellich chimes in with this bit of news, in regards to Heyman's report.

THEN, we have this report from Drellich from a conversation with Jim Crane, where he talks about paying an "Astros tax" on free agents and suggests they have wiggle room to go over the projected $20 million increase for the right player.

"We're not going to spend it just to spend it," Crane said. "I think definitely the money's available if they need it, and we're looking to fill some voids and improve the team. That could include spending the money and making some trades. They're looking at all the options. Definitely that money's available if they need it, and we could stretch a little if we need to and if something came in our direction we felt was the right piece that improved the team."

You mean, Mr. Crane, like adding the top free agent starter on the market? Would that be enough to stretch the budget?

How much stretching would the Astros need to make? Houston's expected payroll falls around $70 million. With the Gregerson and Neshek signings, the expected financial outlay for this team rises to $65 million right now, given arbitration raises to Jason Castro and the rest of Houston's 40-man roster.

Now, Max Scherzer is said to be looking for a deal in the neighborhood of Clayton Kershaw's massive $215 million, seven-year deal. He's certainly going to get more than Jon Lester's six-year, $155 million deal, which is $25.8 million per year. Kershaw's getting $30.5 million per season.

Let's split the difference and say Scherzer gets $28 million per on a six year deal. That would up the Astros payroll to $93 million, or $23 million over their projected figure.

Is that stretching too much? Well, that sweet, sweet Root Sports money should be flowing now, revenue projections for MLBAM are through the roof and that giant new national TV contract are on the way. Certainly, Houston could support that size payroll.

Does it make sense? Rebuilding teams often need to make a splash to show they're a place to play again. The Tigers signed Pudge to a huge deal before they got good again. The Nats did the same with Jayson Werth.

Boras is the kind of agent who will push a client to sign for the most money, so if the Astros outbid everyone for Scherzer, there's a very good chance he comes to Houston.

Add in the bullpen additions and Houston's pitching staff could take a dramatic step forward with these moves. Put them with natural improvement by young players like George Springer and Jon Singleton and Houston should easily be a .500 or better team in 2015.

Would it happen?

No. It's ridiculous. It's a conspiracy theory. It won't happen.

But, it IS nice to dream.