Detroit Tigers Links: Max Scherzer sets record straight, report card & more

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Former Detroit Tigers Cy Young winner Max Scherzer spoke with the Detroit media for the first time since his departure to Washington late last month.

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Scherzer touched on various topics including that despite what happens with Victor Martinez, the Tigers will still be a good team and how his comments when being introduced as a Nationals’ pitcher were misconstrued.

Many fans felt jilted over Max’s departure and his unwillingness to sign the $144 million contract last year. I get that, but he gambled on himself and won. If you don’t think you’d do the exact same thing in his situation, you’re kidding yourself. Furthermore those same fans were incensed when Scherzer said he came to Washington to win as if he was slighting Detroit, saying they couldn’t win.

Of course he is going to talk up his new team. That’s what free agents always do. He never spoke bad about the Tigers.

Scherzer also mentioned how his team reached out to the Tigers but they weren’t willing to negotiate seemingly happy with their current staff.

That’s our first link. Next up we look at the bad. SI doesn’t give the Tigers high marks for their off-season and ESPN all but waves the white flag on the Tigers’ behalf because of V-Mart’s injury.

If V-Mart is out a long way past Opening Day, the Tigers are in trouble. There is no way to sugarcoat that, but maybe we should see how the surgery goes on Tuesday before we bury them for the season before it even starts.

Outside of Detroit there is a certain Tigers’ fatigue that comes with any team that wins a lot. They’ve been to the postseason four straight years but couldn’t get it done in the end. The national media would love nothing more than to be able to move on to new stories in the AL Central.

Former Tigers starter Max Scherzer addresses criticisms: ‘I never once said Detroit couldn’t win’ – James Schmehl, MLive

"“There was a point in time when we reached out to the Tigers to see if they were still interested, and they conveyed to us that they weren’t,” Scherzer told WDFN morning host Matt Shepard. “They were fine with where their rotation was at moving forward, and that’s where we left it.”Scherzer drew criticism from Tigers fans last month when he told reporters during his introductory press conference in Washington that he wanted to sign with the Nationals because they gave him an opportunity to win. Some fans interpreted his comments as a slight of sorts against Detroit, but Scherzer argued otherwise.“I never once said Detroit couldn’t win,” he said. “I actually do think Detroit can win. Detroit has a very good ballclub and they’re going to be a tough team in the American League. They just weren’t one of the final (teams in the mix).“And that was my goal in free agency. To win. Of the teams that were really down to the end, the Nationals, to me, gave me the best opportunity.”"

Winter Report Card: Detroit Tigers – Jay Jaffe, Sport Illustrated

"Preliminary grade: C-Despite the losses of Scherzer and Porcello, the Tigers’ offseason wasn’t all bad. But for what they’re spending — upwards of $170 million, barring a trade — the number of question marks here is too high, particularly in a division that doesn’t lack for alternatives to supplant them as champs."

Martinez injury worsens Tigers’ grim winter – Christina Karl, ESPN

"If that was all that wasn’t well with the Tigers, you might not worry, but it hasn’t been a great winter for the franchise. The injury is just the latest setback for a Tigers team that was already trying to cling to their increasingly tenuous grasp on AL Central dominance after four straight division wins. After barely fending off the White Sox in 2012 (by three games), the Indians in 2013 (by one) and the Royals in 2014 (by one), the Tigers never delivered on past expectations of dominance in their division or in the AL after their 95-win breakout in 2011. After those narrow margins, the Tigers have already lost Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello from the rotation.To really score runs to carry a weaker rotation, the Tigers hope that Astros castoff J.D. Martinez didn’t just catch lightning in a bottle last year but can instead conjure up a full season with an OPS north of .850 as a Tiger after his .687 over three years in Houston. They have to hope that Yoenis Cespedes has his best campaign since his rookie season (.861), not the .744 OPS he’s delivered in the two years since. Outside of that, what are the Tigers banking on to get extra offense over what they got last year? There’s third baseman Nick Castellanos, a brick afield who didn’t show any improvement in-season at the plate while delivering a disappointing .700 OPS. Shortstop Jose Iglesias and center fielder Anthony Gose might both struggle to get much higher than a .620 OPS."

Next: Verlander tries to reclaim crown

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