October 10, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer (37, left) and starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35, right) stand in the dugout during the ninth inning in game five of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum. The Tigers defeated the Athletics 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski is still saying the same thing he’s been saying for weeks, that he’d “be surprised” if the team “made any major moves.” For most fans and writers this means one thing: Nelson Cruz isn’t on the team’s radar right now. That could potentially change if Cruz’s asking price comes down, but this potential signing doesn’t make sense in the context of the rest of the regular season.
It seems that if the Tigers were to make a sort of a “major move” ahead of the season it would be to lock up a player currently on the roster. Jason Beck quoted Max Scherzer saying that he’s had some initial talks with the club about an extension and that Detroit is a place he’d like to stay.
"“We’ve had conversations,” he said. “The biggest thing was hammering out 2014 and getting the arb case settled. That was important for me to have that secured. …“Honestly, this is the place I want to be. I’m comfortable here. I love being part of the Tigers. So hopefully we can get something done before Spring Training, otherwise I’m confident after the season we can completely resolve this.”"
It’s not clear how active the discussions are currently, but Scherzer did reiterate the fact that he didn’t want them to be a distraction during the season. If something isn’t worked out ahead of time, they’ll wait until the fall to pick up again.
Scherzer didn’t go as far as Jon Lester – who said he’d take a discount to stay in Boston – but that’s not really something fans should rightly expect from professional athletes. It’s obviously their right to take a discount to stay in a place that’s familiar, but it’s also their right to seek out the best deal possible.
"“It’s just the process,” Avila said on Thursday, before joining his teammates on the annual winter caravan. “Some guys have to go through it. That’s the process that’s in place to be able to negotiate. Basically, filing numbers gives us a few extra days, but I’m not concerned about it. Expect it to be resolved pretty soon.”"
Avila submitted a request of $5.35 million to the team, and the Tigers countered with a $3.75 million offer. Arbitration cases don’t begin until February, so the two sides have a bit of time to work out a new deal before actually having the case go before an arbitrator.
And, finally, a bit of good news as today is the day that Justin Verlander is scheduled to begin throwing for the first time since undergoing core muscle repair surgery earlier this month. Chris Iott of MLive had this quote from Dave Dombrowski:
"“I’d be surprised if he’s not ready at this point, from everything I hear. I mean, he’s starting to throw already.”"
We won’t know how long he’s going to take to get back to 100%, but with 63 days to go before opening day (guh, that seems like a long time) – and probably 65 days before he was going to start in a regular season game (if we assume Max Scherzer is going to get the Opening Day nod) – you have to like his chances of being ready to go come April. But that decision is ultimately going to come from the doctors.