Tigers Avoid Arbitration With Max Scherzer

The Tigers and 2013 American League Cy Young Winner Max Scherzer have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $15.525MM, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Scherzer is represented by agent Scott Boras.

Scherzer and Boras were able to parlay his 2013 success into a massive $8.8MM raise — a whopping 130 percent raise on last year's salary and nearly $2MM more than the $13.6MM projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz. As Swartz noted in his Arbitration Breakdown piece on Scherzer, the previous record raise for a pitcher with five-plus years of service time was Carlos Zambrano's $5.9MM raise back in 2007. Scherzer's $8.8MM pay increase shatters that mark and isn't likely to be touched at any point in the near future. With David Price having settled at $14MM and Clayton Kershaw having inked a historic extension, Scherzer seems to be a lock to take home the biggest one-year payday among arb-eligible players this offseason.

This is Scherzer's final season before heading into free agency, and one would think that another elite campaign would put him and Boras in position to try to top CC Sabathia's record-setting $161MM free agent contract that still stands as the largest open-market contract ever signed by a pitcher.

Scherzer is fresh off a dominant season in which he pitched to a 2.90 ERA with 10.1 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 36.3 percent ground-ball rate in a career-high 214 1/3 innings. Some will argue that his Cy Young award was due to his gaudy 21-3 record, but Scherzer's 6.4 fWAR trailed only Clayton Kershaw, and his 6.7 rWAR was right in line with Hisashi Iwakuma (7.0) and Chris Sale (6.9) among American League starting pitchers.

Heyman reports that in spite of settling on a one-year agreement, the Tigers still have hopes of extending Scherzer and teammate Miguel Cabrera (Twitter link).

32 Responses to Tigers Avoid Arbitration With Max Scherzer Leave a Reply

  1. truroyal15
    Chad Woelk 2 years ago

    Wonder if the Tigers will be able to lock him up or end up trading him because of the contract Boras will want for him?

  2. snapcase8p 2 years ago

    I wish we could snag Scherzer around 17M AAV, however I have a feeling it going to be closer to 22-24M to sign him if he has another good year.

    • BrettLawriesnewesttattoo 2 years ago

      Max Scherzer’s new contract is going to pay him much more than $24 million AAV. Verlander got $28 million last year, Kershaw just got $30.7 million, considering the influx of money into the game in the last 12 months and the fact that Scherzer is not quite in Kershaw’s class, I could still seem him getting a contract with an AAV between $28 million and $30.7

      EDIT: Also as Steve points out below. Verlander and Kershaw signed extensions. Scherzer will probably hit the open market.

      • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 2 years ago

        While I agree that another good season by Scherzer will raise the AAV of his next contract, his career number are still not on par with Verlander or Felix (let alone Kershaw).

        Scherzer has only toped 200 IP once (2013), Verlander has done it 7 years in a row, Felix has done it 6 year in a row.

        Scherzers lowest single season ERA is 2.90, Verlarder 2.40 in 2011 and 2.62 in 2012, Felix 2.49 in 2009 and 2.27 in 2010.

        Bottom Line: Scherzer is good but Verlander and Felix are better and Kershaw is even better than them!

        • BrettLawriesnewesttattoo 2 years ago

          i agree 100% with you that Scherzer is not in their class however, i do think that, given the insane amount of TV money that’s poured into the game in the last 5-6 months, Boras is going to be able to get Scherzer paid like one of those guys. and there are always a couple of misguided GMs/owners, willing to be reckless to make a splash.

          i can’t see Boras settling for anything much under $28 million AAV.

          • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 2 years ago

            Assuming he has another Cy Young type season, Cole Hammels and Zack Grenkie are better comparisons to Scherzer than Verlander and Felix. Even with all the new money GM are going to know that.

            P.S. Boras can make all the crazy comparisons he wants. Remember when Boras said he was looking for Elvis Andrus type money for Drew? Now Drew doesn’t even have a team for 2014 yet.

          • BrettLawriesnewesttattoo 2 years ago

            what?!! did he really say that about Drew? that’s hilarious.

            Hamels and Greinke got their deals a year ago. i think that’s a long time ago. I also think that Boras probably will feel some pressure to sign a massive deal, after Jay Z/CAA got Cano 10 years, and Casey Close got Kershaw his windfall. he’s gotta show he can still do it to the players.

        • Steve Adams 2 years ago

          Verlander, Kershaw and Hernandez signed extensions. Assuming he can have another huge season, Scherzer will be looking at an open-market deal where he can negotiate with 30 clubs in a time where there’s more money in the game than ever before. He has a very real chance at ending up in the Verlander/Felix range with a big 2014.

          Kershaw’s deal is probably out of reach for any pitcher in the near future.

          • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 2 years ago

            Given the weak market you may be right but I still think Zack Grenkie’s deal is a better comparison even if Scherzer puts up another Cy Young type season.

            Greinkie was also the clear FA ace of the 2012-2013 offseason

          • bjsguess 2 years ago

            He’s not negotiating with 30 teams if he is asking for $30M AAV. More like a handful of teams at most.

            Another strong season and he’s probably looking at $25M AAV. And some team will overpay and hand him that. The guy is a great pitcher but not in the same class as Hernandez, Verlander, etc. Greinke is a much better comp talent wise.

        • jdouble777 2 years ago

          On the open market, he will get 170M and however the AAV breakdown ends up is anyone’s guess as that may be over an additional season.

          170M / 7 = 24.29M per
          170M / 6 = 28.33M per

          My guess, he gets a little more in AAV to drive him down to six years. That said, given what just happened with Cano, perhaps 14 years 1.2B is on the table.

  3. The Tigers should only lock him up if it’s for 20M a year or less. He had an amazing year, but that’s still his only truly spectacular year. If he has another elite year, his price goes up. But to give this guy a massive deal for one great year is madness.

    I can’t see many teams lining up to pay this guy 24-28M AAV unless he posts another sub 3 ERA, which is not easy.

    • bobbleheadguru 2 years ago

      True. Would be better to pay more AAV to him after 2 great years in the open market, than to assume that his 1 great year will continue.

    • BrettLawriesnewesttattoo 2 years ago

      Tim Lincecum just got $17.5 million AAV or something, I think it’s fair to say that even with a down 2014, Max Scherzer is easily going to clear $20 million AAV.

      • alphabet_soup5 2 years ago

        That was an overpay by the Giants, nobody was going to give Timmy $17.5m per on the open market. Scherzer will still easily clear $20m aav.

        • I wouldn’t say that’s a forgone conclusion just yet. If he has a down year, he’s not getting that kind of money. His market could be tricky depending on where Lester and Shields end up plus Price if he’s not moved.

          • BrettLawriesnewesttattoo 2 years ago

            disagree. i think it is definitely a foregone conclusion that Cy Young winner / 6 win pitcher Max Scherzer, hitting the open market, repped by Boras, after the influx of TV money, will clear $20 million. even if his right arm falls off in 2014. a team is going to offer him at least $20 million on a one year deal and pay for stitching the arm back on.

  4. bobbleheadguru 2 years ago

    Much higher than I thought.

    Maybe a sign of good will on a the path to a longterm deal?

    Or maybe they think hard about Tanaka now… and get ready to trade Scherzer to another team.

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 2 years ago

      Price got 14 MM, Scherzer was better last year so he got a bit more. Makes sense to me. DET probably could have gotten him for a bit less but like you say its worth buying a little good will

      • Steve Adams 2 years ago

        No idea why that reply posted here. Was trying to reply down below. Ignore me.

        • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 2 years ago

          Ignore me too then, see below. hahaha

  5. steve 2 years ago

    Let’s say Scherzer doesn’t sign an extension with the Tigers and is a free agent next year. What teams will have the money to outbid the Tigers? Dodgers have a lot of money tied up and Hanley will be a free agent. I don’t think the Angels will be looking to spend huge on any players with the big contracts they have and they have to save for Trout. Phillies have a lot of money tied up on Hamels and Lee. If the Yankees sign Tanaka they will have a lot of money spent in 2015 with CC, Tanaka, and Arod back. If the Cubs sign Tanaka I believe Scherzer will be a Yankee in 2015 but if the Yankees get Tanaka I don’t see anyone out bidding the Tigers.

    • BrettLawriesnewesttattoo 2 years ago

      why not the Yankees? Kuroda might retire. other players: the Mets, the Red Sox, and these teams have plenty of payroll to do it too: the Cubs, the Astros, the White Sox, and… eek… the Marlins. maybe the D’Backs would want him back if they lose out on Tanaka?

      • steve 2 years ago

        True Kuroda coming off the books helps the Yankees, Red Sox are going to pay Lester and they don’t seem to make big splashes in FA pitchers, I doubt the Mets and Cubs go for a player over 30 when they are a few years away from contention.

        • BrettLawriesnewesttattoo 2 years ago

          the Mets are exactly the type of big market team that would sign a free agent like Scherzer, especially considering they hardly have any payroll obligations beyond David Wright. they also might be ready to compete in 2015 when Harvey is back and they know what they’re getting in Syndergard, D’Arnaud and some of the other prospects. but competing isn’t everything. sometimes money talks, especially for Boras clients.

    • teddy 2 years ago

      imagine the nats getting him now that would be a dirty rotation

      • McGlovin 2 years ago

        You already stole Fister from my Tigs. Let’s not get greedy now.

    • bjsguess 2 years ago

      Angels will FINALLY have Wells’ deal off the books. If their young pitching doesn’t make a big stride forward I could see them as players.

  6. Tigers72 2 years ago

    Tigers could trade him or Porcello to the Jays and sign garza to 4 years 50-55 million and get Stoman Loup and another prospect.

  7. omavricko 2 years ago

    Scherzer for Zunino straight up contingent on a extension

  8. McTigers 2 years ago

    The Tigers are not trading Scherzer. The only teams willing to give anything up for a 1-year rental are playoff teams, aka Detroit’s competition. They might as well let his contract play out for a playoff run and then take the draft pick. There’s no way a team built to win now in 2014 is going to make their rotation weaker (and without Fister they already have questionable depth) by dealing a guy like Max.

    It also looks like a sure bet he’ll get at least JV type money, so I hope the Tigers let that one go. They’ve got a dynamite 1-2 in JV-Sanchez regardless, Porcello and Smyly are good at the back, they can sign a 3rd starter if needed. Use that $ to replace Victor/Hunter in 2015.

  9. jdouble777 2 years ago

    Does this break the Kimbrel Rule?

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