The Tigers issued an unorthodox statement yesterday morning:
The Detroit Tigers have made a substantial, long-term contract extension offer to Max Scherzer that would have placed him among the highest paid pitchers in baseball, and the offer was rejected. As we have reiterated, it has been the organization’s intent to extend Max’s contract and keep him in a Tigers uniform well beyond the 2014 season. While this offer would have accomplished that, the ballclub’s focus remains on the start of the upcoming season, and competing for a World Championship. Moving forward there will be no further in-season negotiation and the organization will refrain from commenting on this matter.
As reported by ESPN's Jerry Crasnick later Sunday, Boras countered with a statement mirroring that of the team:
Max Scherzer made a substantial long-term contract extension offer to the Detroit Tigers that would have placed him among the highest-paid pitchers in baseball, and the offer was rejected by Detroit. Max is very happy with the city of Detroit, the fans and his teammates, and we will continue negotiating with the Tigers at season's end.
The legendary Peter Gammons asked rhetorically this morning, "What did the Tigers achieve painting their Cy Young as greedy?" As we ponder the team's decision to make their frustration public, here's more on the situation…
- Scherzer's side suggested to the Tigers that $144MM is an "old market price," reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, with the new market being Clayton Kershaw's $215MM deal and the Yankees' $175MM outlay for Masahiro Tanaka.
- Scherzer turns 30 in July, and his age plays against him in comparisons to megadeals for younger starting pitchers, writes Yahoo's Jeff Passan. Passan argues, however, that Scherzer's workload is relatively light at 18,643 pitches thrown in in his career. Passan feels that "The ceiling is now Kershaw. Boras doesn't traffic in floors." Further, the writer feels the Tigers' statement was "classic grandstanding and reeked of insecurity."
- The Tigers' cozy relationship with Boras is no more, writes Morosi. "Boras did not have direct dialogue with [owner Mike] Ilitch during the Scherzer negotiations," writes Morosi, in contrast to the Prince Fielder negotiations in the 2011-12 offseason.
- ESPN's Jim Bowden feels Scherzer should have overruled Boras and accepted the Tigers' offer, which Bowden feels is fair market value by way of a Zack Greinke comparison. Bowden credits Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski for drawing a line in the sand on Scherzer.
- Tim's take: the Tigers made a reasonable bid, though not one at the level typically required for a star Boras client to eschew free agency when it's so close. The public statement was a misstep, seemingly made out of frustration. The Tigers' offer would have Scherzer tied for the fifth-largest contract for a starting pitcher, and doesn't seem to account for inflation of salaries since Hamels signed in the summer of 2012. There's no word that the Tigers included an opt-out clause, which was included in all the bigger deals: Kershaw, C.C. Sabathia, Tanaka, and Greinke. Now, is it actually a smart baseball move to give Scherzer a seven-year deal worth more than $180MM covering his age 30-36 seasons? Probably not.