Over the last two seasons Max Scherzer has been dominant, he stepped up and took over the ace role on the Detroit Tigers pitching staff as Verlander has continued to slump. The Tigers staff consists of Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, Rick Porcello, and eventually David Price came along in a trade that sent Drew Smyly to Tampa Bay. Although Porcello and Sanchez were good almost all season, Scherzer was great. So will he get paid accordingly? Probably. The Tigers already have some big contracts on their staff, and the rest of the team. With the acquisition of David Price, whose contract also ends this year, the Tigers will definitely have some decisions to make.
Both Price and Scherzer are going to demand some serious money. Coming off a Cy Young winning season in 2013, Scherzer turned down a six year, $144 million offer from Detroit, which would have made him one of the highest paid pitchers in the game. It’s possible that he wasn’t comfortable committing to a long term deal yet, especially since he was a year away from being eligible for free agency. Whatever the case was, Scherzer will be a free agent in a few short months, and despite the high profile pitchers on the staff, the Tigers had one of the worst team ERAs in baseball, just under Houston.
Could Detroit offer Scherzer, Kershaw-type money? Probably not, but Verlander-type money wouldn’t be out of the question for Mad Max, the Tigers don’t have very many options of equal value in free agency in terms of great starting pitchers, Scherzer is the safest deal for them right now. They could offer David Price a big contract, but his postseason pitching stats are less than desirable, Scherzer on the other hand, is much better in big games. There are a decent amount of teams that need pitching that aren’t too far off from being playoff teams, the Rockies, and White Sox especially. With the exception of Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, both by the way, are under 26, the White Sox rotation is very thin. Chris Sale, Max Scherzer, and Jose Quintana could be a nasty top three in the rotation. Although the Rockies staff is much thinner than the White Sox staff, they have a good amount of hitters that, when healthy, are some of the best in baseball, that could be enticing.
It’s very unlikely that Scherzer goes to Colorado, but he will have options when the time comes to sign a new deal. The problem for him is he won’t have a ton of options, not a lot of teams are going to want to shell out over $20 million a year on a pitcher that has had two great seasons, it’s still a gamble, but one that could pay off significantly. The whole decision depends on where he fits in the best, which may very well be back in Detroit, but only time will tell.