Most insiders and fans of the Detroit Tigers have conceded a nagging point all season long: Max Scherzer will soon be an ex-Tiger.
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That might seem like a foregone conclusion now that Victor Martinez added another sizable contract to the Tigers’ books for the next four seasons, adding to the already hefty tab from the likes of Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera.
Yet on Sunday, Jason Beck of MLB.com reported that Scherzer’s agent, Scott Boras, has said no one from the Tigers’ organization has indicated they do not plan to pursue Max. They gave Torii Hunter the courtesy of a heads-up about letting him go, but according to Boras this hasn’t happened in Scherzer’s case.
One could chalk that up to Boras’ gamesmanship, trying to push potential outside suitors into action to bid against Detroit Tigers dollars that aren’t coming. However, one would imagine that Dave Dombrowski would have told the media that Max was not in the Tigers’ plans when he did the same thing with Hunter on Friday.
Earlier in the off-season, DD stated that the Tigers’ payroll would be high again in 2015 but that they couldn’t continue to give out mega-deal contracts. We know, of course, that the team offered Scherzer $144 million in Spring Training and he turned them down. So the Tigers had (have) interest, but could they be shying away from a big money deal now because of the bloated payroll?
If the Tigers want to subtract a little in payroll by taking on Max’s almost certain crazy deal, they might consider trading Anibal Sanchez.
Hear me out…
When Detroit signed Sanchez to a deal two off-seasons ago, it was actually a pretty decent contract for the Tigers considering what other pitchers have signed for since. Anibal is signed through 2017 with a club option in 2018. He will make roughly $16.8 million per year as part of the five-year, $88 million contract.
Anibal would fetch a decent haul in return (assuming the Tigers wouldn’t settle for lower tier prospects like in the Doug Fister debacle) because of his relatively economical contract when taking into account his recent track record and what free agents, like Scherzer, will get paid this off-season. He would also be a better trade candidate than David Price because of Price’s impending free agency after 2015.
When you stack Sanchez against Scherzer you see they are exactly the same age, so it’s not like you’d keep a grizzled Scherzer while dumping the youngster Sanchez. When you think of durability, you have to give the edge to Max who hasn’t missed many starts in Detroit while Sanchez has spent a few stints on the DL, including two last year and a key stretch during the pennant race.
I know what you’re saying. My math is way off. Sure Max would command a fortune, but the Tigers would get a bit of a discount by taking Sanchez’s roughly $50 to (if the option is figured in) $68 million off the books through 2017 or 18. To put it in every day people terms, just think of it as using a 20 percent off coupon or rebate when making a major purchase.
Also, the advantage with trading Sanchez is the Tigers would receive major leaguers or major league-caliber players right off the bat. If Scherzer goes, the Tigers only receive a compensatory draft pick that will be mid-first round at best.
Will this happen? Probably not. I still think Max Scherzer will be pitching with another team in 2015, but its an interesting prospect nonetheless.
Of course the Tigers could find the money, sign Scherzer and trade no one, but that seems unlikely. If it is Team Sanchez vs Team Scherzer, I’d take Max in a heartbeat. He is more consistent, has a Cy Young and is more durable.
And that’s why he will hit the lottery this winter.