AL Central Notes: Royals, Scherzer, Quintana, Twins, Baker

One hidden key to the Royals' emergence has been the club's dedication to Latin American scouting, signing, and player development under GM Dayton Moore (and special assistant Rene Francisco), writes Rany Jazayerli of RanyontheRoyals.com. Jazayerli breaks down the team's long history of virtually no significant spending on Latin American players, and how increased investments — especially on lower-priced players like Salvador Perez, Yordano Ventura, Miguel Almonte, and Jorge Bonifacio (total commitment: $253K) — have been critical to building the team's overall talent base. Here's more from the American League Central:

  • Max Scherzer requested an eight-year deal in his negotiations with the Tigers, reports Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Twitter links). The Tigers' reported offer was for six years and $144MM. If the sides were in agreement on the $24MM AAV, that would hypothetically put Scherzer's demands on total gaurantee at $192MM. Scherzer has injury protection through an insurance policy, Bowden adds, which perhaps has increased his willingness to wait for a larger deal on the open market.
  • Meanwhile, the White Sox were able to secure seven years of control rights over their own prized starter, Jose Quintana, for a total guarantee that maybe as low as $21MM (if he does not qualify for Super Two status). Of course, unlike Scherzer, Quintana has just 1.133 years of service and did not win the AL Cy Young last year. Nevertheless, the deal looks like a smart investment for a Chicago club that has purchased prime years of several players at seemingly reasonable rates. As Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reports, GM Rick Hahn sees the value in early extensions, which "frees us up to allocate our resources to other needs." Hahn explained: "You've seen the magnitude of what some of these deals have gotten to in free agency. It makes sense to try to get out in front of that sometimes, to try to get the price points locked in before the market continues to grow … ."
  • Twins assistant GM Rob Antony had several updates today, as Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Infielder Jason Bartlett has agreed to push back his March 25 opt-out to the March 30 Opening Day roster deadline, which gives both sides more time to assess their options. Meanwhile, the club is still in discussions on a new deal with reliever Matt Guerrier, who was released because the club did not want to pay the Article XX(B) free agent signee a $100K retention bonus to stash him in the minors.
  • Though the Twins have had some exploratory discussions about an extension with second baseman Brian Dozier, the 26-year-old tells Berardino that a deal is probably not happening at this point. That is not surprising, as Dozier has just 1.100 on his service clock and still has some questions to answer as a player. But he indicated that there is a positive vibe between the two sides and a hope that talks could pick up in the future. "We had some talks or whatever," he said. "Obviously nothing took place but it was a bunch of good postive feedback on both ends.It's very unlikely anything will be coming soon or during the season or anything. We'll let another year play out and see where it goes. That was just a thing to see where everybody was. I think [the Twins] would be in the near future open to it and we definitely are."
  • The Indians were one of the clubs vying for Scott Baker's services before the offseason, and just released Aaron Harang. Nevertheless, Cleveland will not pursue the starter at this point, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Baker was released today by the Mariners after deciding he would rather test the market than accept an assignment to Triple-A.


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41 Comments on "AL Central Notes: Royals, Scherzer, Quintana, Twins, Baker"


kungfucampby
1 year 4 months ago

I’ve never heard of a pitcher having injury insurance for himself. Isn’t that a team thing?

LazerTown
1 year 4 months ago

Teams can choose to have insurance policies to cover the money of the contract if they get injured. This sounds like the idea of the aflac insurance commercials. If you get injured it is money to cover you. You can pretty much have anything insured, the companies just figure out the risk.

Obama
1 year 4 months ago

Insurance is basically a bet, if you can get an underwriter to calc the risk you can insure it.

Vandals Took The Handles
1 year 4 months ago

A good question.

For whatever reason, what players are insured and by whom is seldom disclosed to the media. Probably falls under the category of “too much information”. Only comes out in special cases such as this one.

It is quite expensive, and the last I read, there is a half year deductible.

LazerTown
1 year 4 months ago

Always thought many players would have something like that through their agent. It allows the agent to get the player to hold out for more money, while hedging against risk.

pft2
1 year 4 months ago

Pitchers have to be pretty healthy to get it. I remember Becketts shoulder was uninsurable due to a labrum injury with the Marlins which forced him to accept the Red Sox extensions for the security, and it was a good thing he accepted the 2nd extension when he did.

But how much insurance can you get?. Pitchers have a 40% chance of landing on the DL each year. What would be the premiums for 144 million dollars of coverage? Insurance companies are not stupid.

WillieWildkat
1 year 4 months ago

The Tigers challenges securing Max makes their giveaway of Doug Fister that much more puzzling. A study in contrasts in how the White Sox have secured two solid cost-controlled components of their rotation, and are rebuilding on the fly with prospects like Avi Garcia, Davidson and Eaton– while the Tigers are highly leveraged with Verlander, Miggy, and a nearly barren farm system. Tigger still the prohibitive favorite in the central, but they’re looking at a 1-2 yr window. With Iglesias out most of the year, suspect the wheels are starting to come off.

kungfucampby
1 year 4 months ago

Doug Fister’s trade makes sense only in the light that Dave Dombrowski really really really really likes Robbie Ray and thinks he’s worth Doug Fister. That’s it. He got fleeced, he knows it, we all know it.

The Fielder/Kinsler trade was rationalized as being an attempt to save money and put it toward Scherzer. Which is silly, because anyone that knows Boras knows you’re not going to extend his client before Free Agency unless you significantly overpay. Like Elvis Andrus overpay.

I just hope they put the money toward locking up Cabrera. If he wants Pujols money then the Tigers need to rebuild, they’ve squandered any chance of winning this year (no bullpen, no Fister, no Fielder), and they’ll be even worse off next season, everyone will be older and Cabby will be on his way out.

1 year 4 months ago

The organization said the Fielder trade gave them financial flexibility. The fans and media assumed it would go to Scherzer. It still could. Or, it could go to another free agent or several free agents. If they don’t spend it on Max, they can spend it on someone else. They won’t lose it.
They had the money to extend Miggy without the Fielder trade, so they are not related.

johnsilver
1 year 4 months ago

The problem with that, is they are nearing a Phillies mode with the team getting old and the farm system fairly empty. This team is still much better than the Phillies of course, but they really need to win a WS before the wheels come off like they have and did at Philly with nothing in the pipeline to replace the aging stars.

I’d like to see the Tigers not sign any QO FA over the next cpl of years, invest heavily in both the rule 4 and IFA FA to rebuild the farm system while the team is still powerful, unlike what the Phillies did. They have seen what an aging team did and should try to avoid it, as well as over extending monetary offers on Scherzer, if he is indeed seeking near 200m. The top 3 SP is still near the best in the AL. Work that money towards Cabby, then save another 12m with VMart leaving.

1 year 4 months ago

Looks like they recognized the potential problem you point out. That’s why they unloaded Peralta, Infante and Fister.
Verlander, Miggy and Sanchez are just entering their prime. Iggy, Castellanos, Jackson, Avila, Porcello, Smyly and Rondon give them youth. They also now have some pretty decent minor league pitching prospects.
They were in danger of becoming the Phillies, but no more.

Vandals Took The Handles
1 year 4 months ago

I’d suggest that if the Tigers did not get younger, they were in danger of becoming the AL’s version of the Phillies – bouncing around in 4th-5th place for 3-4 years with a bloated payroll, while putting off the inevitable 3-5 year rebuild. If they did not make the moves they did this year, they were not going to keep up with the Royals, Twins and White Sox – all of whom have a nice amount of very good prospects both on their ML roster in in the high minors.

The way the game is played – in a year or two Portello and Smyly can be moved up in the rotation, and the 2 pitchers from the Nationals can take over the 4-5 spots. Lot’s can happen though.

pft2
1 year 4 months ago

Fister has a bad elbow and declining peripherals, I suspect the Tigers knew what they were doing with him.

It may be best the Tigers don’t sign Scherzer. He has only had 1 great season. Not the track record of a Verlander.

This is the Tigers year to go for it though. With Scherzer, Hunter and V-Mart likely gone at the end of the year, and Iglesias uncertain with bad wheels. Makes not signing Drew all the more inexplicable to me.

WillieWildkat
1 year 4 months ago

I thought for sure that DD was going to trade Max last season at Max-value. That would have been a gutsy thing to do during a playoff push, but would have reaped quite a bounty. Now, not so much

1 year 4 months ago

When Scherzer and Hunter leave they will have an additional $30 m to spend that went to those two. V-Mart shows no signs of declining or retiring. He should be back.
Fister had a history of a back problem but there was no indication he had an elbow problem. He pitched really well at the end of the season.

bobbleheadguru
1 year 4 months ago

As we have discussed in previous posts, Drew is not a fit from a cost perspective.

$8MM, and Drew has a deal… or $8MM after June 1st (when 1/3rd of the season is lost, but without a draft pick albatross). Otherwise, it does not make sense.

…And now it appears that there is bad blood between Boras and DD.

Bronx Bombers
1 year 4 months ago

Unless you ignore Verlander’s 2008 campaign when he had 17 losses (most in the AL) and a 4.84 ERA which is worse then any of Scherzer’s seasons by a bit.

If you look at career stats from their age 23-28 seasons, there isn’t a huge difference between them in terms of averages.

bobbleheadguru
1 year 4 months ago

Nice theory… but the main prize they got in the Fister deal (Ray) is a cost controlled left handed pitcher that will presumably be in their system for six years (starting next year), instead of just two years (Fister). That is a move to EXTEND their window.

Cabrera, Verlander and Sanchez are all at/near their prime for at least another 4 years. Castellanos is just starting. Iglesias (before the injury) was to be their SS for the next half dozen years.

Hunter and VMART are older… but they are coming off the books, which will allow the Tigers to sign “right fit” free agents to short term contracts (like the Red Sox).

Unassisted Triple Play
1 year 4 months ago

Wasn’t Scott Baker having a decent spring? I’m surprised he was released. Does anyone have any info on him? How is his velocity?

UK Tiger
UK Tiger
1 year 4 months ago

Max, i love watching you pitch for my team, but asking for $192m after only one stellar career year?

Come on, get real now.

I think Dombrowski went plenty far enough in his offer.

1 year 4 months ago

$192m is the minimum. There is no indication they agreed on the AAV. That is pure speculation. It could be as much as 8 years $214m. That would still fit Boras’s statement.

UK Tiger
UK Tiger
1 year 4 months ago

And put him in just under Kershaws total outlay.

Either way its madness from Max/Boras.

Maxxx Depth
1 year 4 months ago

He’s solid….But 140 is too much…maybe another 2 years similar to last and i could see it. He’s an idiot for not jumping on that 144!

Tigers72
1 year 4 months ago

Now is Max going to have other players mad at him? They had a good team and he got a really fair deal but he just got greedy most of the fans are starting to get mad at him. Do the Tigers trade him to a team like the Rangers who have a very bad situation with injuries and Darvish not looking ready to for opening day. There out feild is a little crowded so maybe Rios or Martin, Luke Jackson and depending on which OF they get add another team in like the Bluejays and have the Tigers and Rangers add in some pieces( mostly Tigers like McCann to Rangers and Perez to Jays and Tigers get Stroman.

Maxxx Depth
1 year 4 months ago

I’d give up Martin before Rios anyday. Rios is a poor man’s 5 tool guy….yes, i know he isn’t cheap…but compared to other 5 tool guys he is…other than the best bang for your buck Trout.

Lefty_Orioles_Fan
Lefty_Orioles_Fan
1 year 4 months ago

If I am the Tigers I let the Yankees or Red Sox or Rangers or whomever has the cap space and money to sign Scherzer. Him and that Agent of his are outrageous and should be ashamed of themselves. I am serious!

MB923
1 year 4 months ago

I don’t see the Yankees or Red Sox getting him. Rangers I can see them going after another frontline starter after Darvish. Assuming that Lester gets the extension with the Red Sox, both the Yankees and Red Sox already have 1-4 going into next year – (CC/Tanaka/Nova/Pineda, Lester/Buccholz/Lackey/Doubront). Of course if any of the pitchers struggle this upcoming season which is a possibility, then maybe $ does more talking.

Maxxx Depth
1 year 4 months ago

No way the Rangers cough up that money for a guy with a career 3.70 ERA. Considering Holland, Perez and Darvish are all locked up for almost half of what Max expects…He won’t be in Texas. I would much rather have a much cheaper Lester.

bobbleheadguru
1 year 4 months ago

I like the Tigers getting a motivated, in his prime $30MM player for only $15MM (Scherzer in 2014). With any luck, Max will repeat his 2013, Tigers will have a great team this year, hopefully win the World Series.

Then the Tigers will have a top draft pick for their future and $25MM+ per year for the NEXT EIGHT YEARS to spend on TWO Free Agents (always at/near their prime, with short term contracts) that will be key contributors to the team. Tigers can now afford the “next” VMART, Hunter plus two more star-but-not-superstar free agents.

The Red Sox won the World Series with ZERO $20MM/year players. There is absolutely no reason the Tigers need THREE. They are not the only examples… look at the Giants and Cardinals.

…Side note: The Tigers should look into signing Porcello to a long term deal NOW. It would be like getting Scherzer locked up 2 years ago. His price tag will be 1/3rd the price of Scherzer with perhaps ~75% of the value… and Porcello is still only 25.

Mike1L
1 year 4 months ago

I seriously doubt Scherzer has an insurance policy with coverage for a hypothetical $150-200M contract. It’s got to be much more modest. If that gives them the opportunity to shoot for the moon, It’s not personal, just business. The thing about these contracts is that they are only nuts until someone forks over the cash. Scherzer was great last year, but it’s not a historic season, and it’s out of range of what he managed before. Maybe he can sustain it, and maybe that’s just the year where everything went right. Boras is betting $144M to get closer to $200M. That’s a big bet.

1 year 4 months ago

I hate to root for players to fail, but Scherzer having a bad 2014 would be good for baseball. Boras’ contract demands for him are beyond ridiculous and a nice 4+ ERA would show teams why you don’t give record deals to players who have only been elite for a year.

bobbleheadguru
1 year 4 months ago

As a Tigers fan, I hope he has a $30MM year and prices himself out of the Tigers reach and helps bring a title to Detroit.

Then, hopefully the Dodgers will sign him after that so the Tigers will have to face him rarely in the next 4 years.

1 year 4 months ago

What is a $30MM dollar year? If he repeats his 2013 next year identically, I still don’t think he gets it. The Dodgers aren’t going to add another pitcher at that price.

Kershaw is a 26 year old pitcher whose only year that was worse than Scherzer’s CY Young season was his rookie season.

bobbleheadguru
1 year 4 months ago

Scherzer had a fWAR of 6.4 last year. That is worth almost $30MM. I am talking about ONLY 2014, when he is likely Scherzer will be at his peak for his career.

1 year 4 months ago

That’s the problem with putting dollar amounts on WAR and fWAR and then using it to try to justify future contracts. It ignores past performance, age, the market, agent, etc. It’s a useful reference point, but it only goes so far.

bobbleheadguru
1 year 4 months ago

I am only commenting about 2014 ONLY. No other year.

orangeoctober
1 year 4 months ago

scherzer has really only had one lights out season, which was last year. he was still a good pitcher for the last 4 seasons or so, but 2013 was the only year he was an all-star or got cy young votes i believe. so i can see it from the tigers point of view that they dont want to spend that much for his year 30-36 seasons. however, i can also see from scherzers point of view that he just had a monster season and contributed a good bit of WAR each year for a while now. plus he can always point to tanaka and say “hey he hasnt even pitched in the MLB and got all this money but last year i did this this and this but you wont even give me as much as him”. I’m pretty sure scherzer is in the top 10-15 pitchers by WAR over the last 3 or 4 seasons though.

orangeoctober
1 year 4 months ago

actually i just checked fangraphs and between 2010-2013 he was 7th in WAR among qualifying starting pitchers. his big season last year may have skewed it a little bit. he was 2nd in 2013, 11th in 2012, 48th in 2011, and 30th in 2010. 7th overall in that time period.

1 year 4 months ago

Somebody will be dumb enough to pay Scherzer at age 37 and 38 for what he did for the Tigers at age 29 and 30. Somebody always is. I hope it is not the Tigers, but I understand why Scherzer is waiting it out.

0vercast
1 year 4 months ago

Absolutely agree.