Detroit Tigers need to give fans a Christmas present: end Max Scherzer sweepstakes


With less than two shopping days before Christmas, I have a suggestion on what the Detroit Tigers can get for their fans on Christmas Eve Eve: bow out of the Max Scherzer sweepstakes.

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As we mentioned earlier today, many national pundits feel that as high-priced suitor after high-price suitor drops out of the Scherzer sweepstakes that the Detroit Tigers will be the ones to vulture in and retain the 2013 AL Cy Young award winner.

Though there has never been any confirmation, many rumors have Scherzer and his agent, Scott Boras, asking for 8 years, $218 million. That’s considerably more than the Tigers offer of 6 years, $144 million. While its a difference of around  $3.25 million per year (large by fan’s standards but not by sports salary standards) it’s the length of time on the contract, especially for the Tigers who are locked into a big money contract with another pitcher who will be close to 40 when his contract is up in Justin Verlander.

The logic of the Tigers being Max’s fall-back team is flawed. This is because, contrary to popular belief, the Tigers aren’t made of money and in fact annually lose money. Attendance was down last year for a team that was in first place for most of the season and with increased competition in a more balanced AL Central, if the Tigers struggle through stretches in 2015, will attendance (and revenue) plunge even further?

Also, circumstances have vastly changed for Detroit since the March offer to Scherzer. After he turned them down, the team gave Miguel Cabrera a mega-deal. They traded for David Price, who will command the most salary of any arbitration eligible player in baseball in 2015, retained Victor Martinez and added Yoenis Cespedes.

We need to face the chance that the Tigers might not be able to sign Max even if they wanted to.

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Seemingly every day another team says they are out for Scherzer and a companion piece springs up that the Tigers are still the frontrunners. This is because of famed double-speaker Dave Dombrowski who said after the Cespedes deal a few weeks ago that they were not actively pursuing Max. But then added “I guess anything can happen.”

This is why the two sides continue to be linked.

DD also said earlier in the off-season that there was a limit to the amount of large contracts the Tigers can possibly give out.

About a month ago, the Tigers said they were not interested in bringing back Torii Hunter for the 2015 season. There was no DD double-speak involved there. He needs to issue the same type of response in regards to Scherzer that he did with Hunter.

Fans remain split on Scherzer. Certainly his presence on the 2015 team makes them a better team. Their starting pitching would have additional depth and a slotted starter could move to the bullpen, perhaps shoring up that sadsack unit. But what about the cost after 2015?

With so many large contracts on the books in the coming years and fewer and fewer prospects following major trades, the Tigers would have to be staring decline in the face, wouldn’t they? Though I will admit, we’ve all been saying that for sometime and it hasn’t happened yet (knocking on wood).

The bottom line is until the Tigers forcefully claim they are out on Max Scherzer, the sooner that fans, players and coaches can stop wishing (or dreading) for his return and everyone can move on.

Next: As the Max Scherzer Turns, Prospect plays the Feud, RH relievers