On Friday, the Detroit Tigers and Max Scherzer avoided arbitration when they agreed to a one-year contract for $15.525 million. Earlier this offseason, Scherzer came out and said that he did not want to be traded this offseason and that he wanted to work out a long term extension.
This deal to avoid arbitration could be a launching point for an extension. On our weekly roundtable last week, the Motor City Bengals staff all projected their 7-year deal numbers for Scherzer since Clayton Kershaw was signed to a 7-year deal last week. I would not make a 7-year deal with Scherzer, but an extension is definitely not out of the question if it was in the 4-6 year range.
The market the past couple of years has been a bit ridiculous. For example, Scott Kazmir was signed by the Oakland A’s to a 2-year $22 million contract. Need I say more?
An option that has been suggested instead of signing Scherzer is the Tigers make a run at Marisho Tanaka instead of giving Scherzer an extension. To do this, the Tigers would need to post $20 million just to negotiate a deal that would be in the range of 6-years and $100-120 million. If the Tigers sign Scherzer, who turns 29 at the end of May, to a contract that is in the range of 5-years, $100 million or 6-years around $120 million, I do not believe that many people would complain.
Scherzer’s success is not limited just to last year. Since May of 2012, Scherzer has compiled a 36-7 record with a 2.76 ERA. Ever since Scherzer was sent down to the Toledo Mud Hens, the AAA affiliate of the Tigers, in 2010, his mechanics have improved greatly which has improved the location on his pitches. This was one of the main reasons for his success in 2013. Scherzer has always had a fastball has always been in the mid to high 90’s, a fantastic changeup, and a breaking ball, but the location and movement on his pitches is what took him from good to great in 2013.
The ability to come to the table and make an agreement should not be underestimated. If the Tigers and Scherzer could agree on a one year deal, they should be able to come together and get an extension done if both sides really want to. The dynamics of an extension are different than a one year deal to avoid arbitration, but they are similar enough to be able to get a deal done before the 2014 season begins. If a deal does not get done by then, I believe that a deal won’t get at all.