Sunday, March 23, 2014

My thoughts on the Detroit Tigers cutting off contract extension talks with Max Scherzer

The Tigers stated Sunday they have made their final offer to 2013 AL Cy Young-winning pitcher Max Scherzer on a contract extension. Not only has general manager Dave Dombrowski told reporters this, but the team actually released a written statement.
But I'm not so sure this is the end of the negotiations, but in a sense the beginning in earnest.
It's not unprecedented.
I've seen the Tigers do this before under Dombrowski's leadership, albeit in a different time and different place with a different pitcher.
It was after Justin Verlander was drafted by the Tigers in 2004 and didn't sign. It got to October after Verlander sat out his entire first professional season, and the Tigers announced they weren't going to sign him.
A week later, Verlander signed.
Sources told me at the time the Tigers were not pleased with Verlander's agent, who wasn't nearly as known or powerful in the game as Scott Boras, Scherzer's representative. Verlander's father, who had a negotiating background as union rep in his own profession, was the one who stepped in and got the contract done.
But the ploy is the same. Obviously, neither side wants this to drag into the season. It's also true that these type of negotiations don't get done until lines are drawn, which is exactly what the Tigers did Sunday.
But lines in the sand like this can be washed away much easier than those etched in stone.
There is still a week remaining before opening day. What the Tigers did was put a lot of  heat on the ball- and threw it over to Scherzer's. court. Now, he kind of looks like the bad guy, who doesn't want to stay in a town, Detroit, and play for an organization, the Tigers, who have been very good to him.
Maybe it will work. Perhaps it won't. Boras isn't easily intimidated. I just don't see how not signing long-term will benefit Scherzer. He had. by far, his best season last season. Before that, he only had stretches of similar effectiveness. An off-season or any type of injury, Scherzer could be costing himself an incredible amount of money by rolling the dice and pitching this season without a contract extension.
Both sides still have a lot of reason to get this done. As such, it wouldn't me surprise if they still do by opening day.
My column. Michigan Wolverines back on track for a possible bid for Final Four spot in NCAA Tournament:


Blogger Barry said...

Pat, kinda like football you want depth. Paying a pitcher 25 to 30 m a year is a bit much. For 30 million you can pick up two solid pitchers for that price.

1:56 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

25 to 30M a bit much? It's OUTRAGEOUS for a guy who's only going to play in 20% of the games. Besides, Scherzer had one very good year. In years past he's been little more than a journeyman pitcher. Somebody somwhere needs to find the guts to step up and play hardball with some of these agents. Drop the offer to 5M a year and stick to it. Sure, Scherzer will walk, but who cares? Let him be somebody else's salary cap nightmare.

12:56 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The previous commenter hit the nail right on the head. These ridiculous player salaries are why the average family of four on a tight budget has to skip a house payment to attend a game. When and where will the madness end?

5:04 AM 

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