I have this fantasy that in the year 2030 I’ll be taking my son to Comerica Park for the unveiling of three new statues in the left-centerfield concourse. Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, and Max Scherzer will all be honored, joining the likes of Al Kaline, Ty Cobb and Hank Greenberg as some of Detroit Baseball’s greats. But with the Tigers’ announcement that Scherzer declined a deal worth roughly $144 million over six seasons, this fantasy is exactly what it what it is, a fantasy. Scherzer, last season’s Cy Young Award winner, has evaluated his game to an elite level among starting pitchers in baseball and while the Tigers tried to reward Scherzer for his recent success, the 29-year Scherzer said no.
My question is, how much more is Scherzer expecting? Rumors out of Tigers’ camp is that Scherzer was looking for an eight-year deal similar to that of Justin Verlander. And while Scherzer has shown that he is one of the better pitchers in baseball, he hasn’t done it long enough in my opinion to warrant a deal similar to JV’s. Let’s not forget, just a few seasons ago Scherzer struggled so much he was sent down to Triple-A Toledo. That’s not the type of long term success that gets rewarded with one of the largest contracts in baseball.
However, a lot of the blame for Scherzer not signing the deal the Tigers offered shouldn’t be placed on him. I blame his agent Scott Boras. In case you know nothing about baseball, Boras is the top agent in baseball, and has a history of getting his players paid and paid handsomely. Boras is a prime example of what is wrong with the today’s game. Don’t get me wrong, Boras is a hell of an agent, and if I were a Major League ball player I’d want him in my corner, but his ridiculous demand for Scherzer is going to price the Tigers out of being able to resign Scherzer.
The Tigers have made every effort to make sure financially they can resign Scherzer. They traded away Prince Fielder and his astronomically large contract and made the very unpopular move of trading Doug Fister to Washington. By making these moves the Tigers freed up enough money to offer Scherzer an extremely fair contract.
I can’t hate on Scherzer for wanting to get paid. We all want to get the most money possible while we can and Scherzer is doing the same thing. However, he needs to be realistic. The majority of seven/eight year deals worth over $150 million don’t pan out. If you asked any general manager in baseball that has shelled out one of these enormous contracts, most of them would take back the deal if they had the chance. If Scherzer were to be offered an eight year deal, he would be 38 in the final year of the contract. When was the last time there was a pitcher in baseball worth $24 million a year at that age?
If Scherzer truly wanted to be a Tiger for the rest of his career he would have signed the deal. Now we have to enter the season with questions surrounding whether or not Scherzer will resign when the 2014 campaign is over. My biggest fear now is that Scherzer will have another incredible season and some team like the Yankees with deeper pockets than the Tigers will make him an offer he can’t refuse. I really hope this isn’t the case and that Scherzer does indeed resign with the Tigers, not only for Tigers’ fans but for the sake of my future son.