Max Scherzer Rumors

D’Backs Notes: Roster, Gardenhire, Payroll, Coaches

The Diamondbacks more or less kicked off their offseason last week when they announced the hiring of Dave Stewart as general manager and De Jon Watson as vice president of baseball operations. That duo, along with chief baseball officer Tony La Russa, will be tasked with righting the ship for a team that lost an MLB-worst 98 games in 2014. Both Nick Piecoro and Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic have authored highly informative columns about how things will shake out this offseason after talking with that group. Here are some highlights from the Republic’s scribes, but each piece is full of lengthier quotes and is well worth reading in its entirety…

  • It’s tough to get a read on Stewart at this point, Piecoro writes, as the new GM expressed a desire to add a front-of-the-rotation arm but expressed hesitancy toward the free agent market and toward the trade market. Stewart appears to be more conservative than predecessor Kevin Towers on the trade front, according to Piecoro, and as for free agency, both Stewart and Watson doubted the team would have the resources to pursue Jon Lester, Max Scherzer or James Shields.
  • A trade of minor league talent to acquire an established pitcher doesn’t seem likely either, Piecoro writes. He quotes Stewart: “We’re going to try to maintain our minor-league system. We’ve got to start putting players back in our system. So the trade market, we’ll look at it if it makes sense, but it’s not likely.”
  • La Russa tells Piecoro that when it comes to a manager, the team is looking for a candidate that can “lead and inspire.” Previous managerial experience sounded important to La Russa, who stated, “…when you start managing the game, the more that you’ve pulled the trigger as a manager somewhere, there is an art to that.” Asked specifically about recently dismissed Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, La Russa said he is “sure” that Gardenhire’s name will come up during their search.
  • La Russa also touched on payroll, though his answer when asked for a specific figure was nebulous; payroll could fall anywhere between $80-110MM, he stated, depending on whether or not there is value to be found, per Piecoro.
  • Shifting to Buchanan’s piece, La Russa said that there may not be many changes to the team’s coaching staff beyond the firings of Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell. La Russa offered particularly high praise for first base coach Dave McKay, pitching coach Mike Harkey and bullpen coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. — the latter two of whom he feels handled Arizona’s slew of injuries well. Roving pitching instructor Dave Duncan, La Russa’s former pitching coach, will take on a bigger role in the organization but will not return to a coaching position.
  • Buchanan spoke with Stewart on the team’s outfield situation. While Towers had expressed the desire to add an outfield bat, Stewart sounds much less inclined to do so. “I think that A.J. (Pollock) in center, (David) Peralta played well, (Mark) Trumbo will probably be in the outfield mix with (Paul) Goldschmidt being at first base and being healthy again,” the GM explained to Buchanan. “It’s a pretty solid outfield, in my opinion.” La Russa spoke on the outfield as well, adding praise for Ender Inciarte.
  • The D’Backs have yet to address their desire to incorporate analytics into their front office, but Stewart again repeated that it is a priority for the team. “…We’ve got to go through the process of trying to get the right person in to take over that department for us,” he said.

Rosenthal On Scherzer, Braves, Melvin

Here’s the latest from Ken Rosenthal, via a video on FOX Sports:

  • Gossip within baseball suggests that James Shields will likely go the Red Sox this offseason, with Jon Lester heading to the Cubs. That could leave a variety of teams competing for Max Scherzer, with agent Scott Boras “waiting it out,” as he often does to try to get teams to meet his price.
  • If the Braves decide to part ways with Frank Wren this offseason, they could promote assistant GM John Coppolella to the GM position and have senior advisor John Hart serve as Coppolella’s mentor. Rosenthal also suggests the possibility that the Braves could bring back Royals GM Dayton Moore. (We noted earlier today that the Braves could make front office changes this offseason.)
  • Fredi Gonzalez of the Braves and Ron Roenicke of the Brewers could be on the hot seat this offseason, but Bob Melvin of the Athletics likely will not be, Rosenthal says.

Olney On Qualifying Offer Candidates

In his latest Insider-only blog, ESPN’s Buster Olney runs down a list of pending free agents that are candidates to receive qualifying offers. Olney spoke with several executives from around the league and is of the mind that James Shields, Max Scherzer, Pablo Sandoval, Melky Cabrera, Russell Martin, Nelson Cruz, J.J. Hardy, Victor Martinez, Ervin Santana, David Robertson and Hanley Ramirez will receive qualifying offers, which should fall between $15MM and $15.5MM.

Here are a few more notes from Olney’s piece…

  • The Giants intend to give Sandoval a QO with the assumption that he will reject the offer and test the open market. San Francisco appears willing to offer him just three years, says Olney, and even going to four years might be too much of a stretch. Such a commitment seems much too light to land Sandoval, who, at 28 years old, will be one of the youngest free agents on the market.
  • It looks like the Dodgers and Ramirez could be moving in separate directions, as rival evaluators anticipate the team will extend a qualifying offer with the expectation that Ramirez signs elsewhere.
  • The value of Martin on a one-year deal, even north of $15MM, makes a QO for the Pirates “an easy call,” one rival GM said to Olney. Some may wonder whether or not Francisco Liriano is a QO candidate, but executives polled by Olney feel that his injury history and lack of innings present too much risk for the Bucs to extend such an offer. I’m inclined to agree; while Martin is a lock to turn down the QO, Liriano would have more hesitancy, and a $15MM salary would represent nearly 21 percent of the Pirates’ Opening Day payroll from 2014.
  • Some evaluators think that Cruz will again find himself with a more limited market than he expects due to his age, 2013 PED suspension and the fact that his OBP and defense are less impressive than his power totals.
  • Many rival executives feel there’s simply no way that the Tigers will let Martinez get away. Olney’s right in noting that a QO is “an easy call” for V-Mart, who currently sports a hefty .333/.401/.567 with a career-high 31 homers.
  • Olney also feels that a QO for Robertson is an easy call. While he notes that teams don’t pay $15MM for closers anymore, one evaluator said to him: “…with any other team, we wouldn’t be talking about this. But it’s the Yankees, and they can do it.” On a somewhat related note, Olney adds that Koji Uehara‘s late-season swoon may be a blessing of sorts for the Red Sox, who can now approach him with an offer much lower than a QO would have been. I noted in yesterday’s MLBTR chat that I’d be more hesitant to give Robertson a QO, but the Yankees could certainly afford to run the risk.


AL Notes: Angels, Tigers, Baker

The Angels, who have reportedly run into difficulties in their negotiations for a new deal to extend the team’s lease in Anaheim, are discussing potential alternative sites in two other California locations, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times: Tustin and, most recently, Irvine. A 2016 opt-out of the team’s current lease is looming in the near future.

  • In his podcast today (audio link), ESPN.com’s Buster Olney touched on several topics relating to the Tigers. Club GM Dave Dombrowski, joining for an interview, said that he is still looking internally first for bullpen solutions, calling it “a little early for clubs to be making trades at this time.”
  • Dombrowski also talked about Robbie Ray, the key piece acquired in the Doug Fister trade. He indicated that Detroit’s evaluators seemingly placed a higher value on Ray than did other teams around the league, saying that Ray “projects to be at least a number-three starter.” Though the club does not expect him to reach that level (let alone his potential ceiling) during his first call-up, Dombrowski said that Ray has thrown well enough at Triple-A to earn a chance to fill in at the big league level.
  • Discussing the Tigers’ reported $144MM extension offer that Max Scherzer declined with fellow ESPN analyst Keith Law, Olney noted that many players and agents he has spoken with felt they would have taken the deal. But the calculating Scherzer — who, in Olney’s opinion, may be the “pitcher’s version of Joey Votto” in terms of his incorporation of statistical analysis into his game — apparently determined that he will hold a good enough hand to warrant the risk of waiting for free agency.
  • Starter Scott Baker has not elected his opt-out clause with the Rangers, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com, after apparently not finding a major league opportunity elsewhere. If he finds such a chance, however, Baker will be able to opt out at that time, Cotillo adds.

AL Notes: Lester, Middlebrooks, Tigers, Royals, Astros

The retirements of Yankee icon Derek Jeter and Commissioner Bud Selig and the Red Sox's quest to repeat as World Series champions are baseball's top storylines this season, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Mike Trout/Miguel Cabrera debate also makes Cafardo's list along with five other topics to monitor in 2014. Stoking the discussion, the dynamic duo both agreed to lengthy and lucrative contract extensions just one day apart this past week: six years, $144.5MM for Trout and eight years, $248MM for Cabrera

In other news and notes from the American League:

  • Within the same article, Cafardo opines Jon Lester better be willing to accept less from the Red Sox than the six-year, $144MM proposal the Tigers made to Max Scherzer adding negotiations with the left-hander will be a true test of how much faith the club has in its top pitching prospects.
  • Lester addressed the media today, including WEEI.com's Rob Bradford (who provides a transcript of the extension-related portion of the presser) and contrasted his situation to Scherzer's. "Every situation is different, every negotiation is different, every person is different, so until it'€™s there in front of you with a pen to sign it, or not presented to you and you have to go the other way, then like I said, we'€™ll deal with that when it comes.
  • Contact lenses could be the key to the season for Red Sox's third baseman Will Middlebrooks, according to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. An eye test this spring revealed Middlebrooks' vision had deteriorated to 20-25 in his right eye and 20-30 in his left. "For everyday life, you’d never correct it," the 25-year-old said. "But for what I do, you need to be able to see the little things. Once I put them in, I could really see the spin on the ball. I was always just reading trajectory of the ball. I was never seeing the spin."
  • Pitching and offense are reasons why the Red Sox can repeat while history (no team has sucessfully defended its World Series title since 2000) and questions up the middle are reasons why they won't, writes CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam
  • Tigers President/CEO/GM Dave Dombrowski told MLB Network Radio (Twitter link) he had the financial wherewithal to extend both Cabrera and Scherzer. "We had both negotiations going simultaneously," said Dombrowski. "We were trying to sign both."
  • The Royals have had mixed results with their philsophy of developing pitchers, reports Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star. The organization believes you need 10 pitching prospects to deliver one to the Majors and that has worked in developing relievers, but only four prospects have started a game for Kansas City during GM Dayton Moore's seven-year tenure, McCullough notes.
  • The Astros have been active at the Trade Deadline the past two seasons, but that may not be the case this year, writes the Houston Chronicle's Evan Drellich. "No question. This year's different," GM Jeff Luhnow told Drellich. "This year, we have veteran players. If they play well, we're likely to keep them as opposed to move them. There’s always going to be that temptation…we’ll balance all the factors, including the fact that we do want to show significant progress."  

AL Central Notes: Cabrera, Scherzer, Quintana, Twins

The Tigers' record-setting extension with Miguel Cabrera has been heavily questioned by most pundits, but CBS Sports' Jon Heyman has a more positive take on the contract, opining that you can hardly put a price on keeping one of the all-time great hitters in baseball history.  General manager Dave Dombrowski should also deserve some benefit of the doubt, since, as Heyman writes, "no team has done a better job than the Tigers of procuring star talent through trades, and practically no team has done a better job of picking the right players to give the best contracts to, either."

Here's some more news from Detroit and elsewhere around the AL Central…

  • Dombrowski met with Max Scherzer earlier this week to clear the air after both the team and Scott Boras (the pitcher's agent) released public statements about the halt in their contract negotiations.  Scherzer told reporters (including John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press) that the GM apologized for comments that unintentionally portrayed the right-hander "in a negative context."  Dombrowski also apologized for the contract numbers becoming public, and he was upset with whomever it was who leaked the information.
  • In a phone conversation with Lowe, Dombrowski said “These negotiations are tough and difficult, and when you don’t come up with a mutual agreement, it can leave a little bit of tension. To me, it is always better to reach out to somebody to discuss it.  Max is a tremendous person and great pitcher."
  • In regards to an earlier item of his, ESPN's Jim Bowden clarifies (via Twitter) that Scott Boras' last proposal to the Tigers about a Scherzer extension would've covered seven of the righty's free agent years.  The Tigers' last offer would've covered only six free agent years, which would've kept Scherzer in Detroit through the 2020 season.
  • Jose Quintana may now have a higher profile in the wake of his five-year, $21MM extension, yet he is still one of game's more underrated and lesser-known starters, as Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan writes in his exploration of how Quintana developed from a virtual non-prospect to a cornerstone of the White Sox rotation.
  • The offense-needy Twins could've added some more pop in their final roster moves, ESPN 1500's Phil Mackey opines.  Mackey also suggests that backup catcher Josmil Pinto's live bat should be utilized more often as a regular DH rather than just a couple of starts per week or the odd pinch-hitting appearance.
  • The Twins' struggles of recent years can't be blamed on ownership, Patrick Reusse of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes, as the club has been more than willing to spend on payroll.  Minnesota's payroll topped the $100MM mark in both 2011 and 2012, yet the team finished last in both seasons due to poor drafts and trades from former GM Bill Smith, plus some bad injury luck with the likes of Justin Morneau.

Reaction & Analysis: Miguel Cabrera’s Extension

The Tigers extended Miguel Cabrera at a price of (at least) eight guaranteed years and $248MM yesterday, making Cabrera the highest-paid player, in terms of average annual value, in baseball history.  Such a massive contract was bound to generate a lot of commentary, and the early returns aren't positive over Detroit's move.  Here are some of the opinions…

  • Executives from all over baseball are panning the extension, ESPN's Buster Olney reports (ESPN Insider subscription required).  While Cabrera is obviously highly respected as a hitter and extending his contract for at least some length of time isn't a bad idea, several execs and scouts suggested three different ways that the Tigers could've approached the extension differently.
  • In an Insider-only piece, ESPN's Keith Law rips the extension, citing the history of how rare it is for star players to stay productive into their late 30's, especially ones of Cabrera's body type.  David Ortiz could be a best-case scenario for Cabrera, and while Ortiz is still a force, Law notes that the Red Sox have kept their star DH on short-term contracts through his late 30's to protect themselves if he suddenly declines.
  • The fact that a team in a troubled market like Detroit could afford such a huge contract is actually a good sign for Major League Baseball's health, FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi argues, and it could lessen the threat of a work stoppage when the collective bargaining agreement expires in 2016.  Tigers owner Mike Illitch's willingness to spend and his clear desire to retain Cabrera at any cost played a role, though Morosi notes that Joey Votto's extension with the Reds might've been an even riskier long-term deal for an even smaller-market club.
  • The Tigers could be expecting a major revenue bump in the form of a new TV deal, as their current local broadcast contract reportedly expires after the 2017 season, Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan writes.  While this could explain how the Tigers expect to account for Cabrera's contract, however, Passan doesn't believe it excuses the decision, calling the extension possibly "the greatest debacle in the desolate baseball wasteland filled with bad-contract carcasses."
  • The extension is both "terrible and understandable," according to Fangraphs' Dave Cameron.  Had the Tigers not extended Cabrera, he likely would've gone elsewhere as a free agent in two years, and Illitch clearly wants to win now.  On the other hand, Illitch could be leaving the franchise in tough financial shape once he passes on, the Tigers are already going cheap at a few positions due to payroll limitations and Cameron feels the deal is simply "a ridiculous overpay."
  • Mike Trout could be the biggest winner from Cabrera's extension, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal writes.  Trout and the Angels were reportedly negotiating an extension in the neighborhood of six years and $150MM, and Rosenthal figures Trout might as well take that deal now.  "He would become a free agent at 28, and heaven knows what he will be worth then," Rosenthal writes.
  • Cabrera's deal seems to guarantee that the Tigers won't re-sign Max Scherzer next offseason, ESPN's Jim Bowden opines (Insider-only piece).  The timing of the extension "reeks of desperation" after the Tigers' negotiations with Scherzer broke down, "and the Tigers are giving off the vibe of a jilted lover on the rebound."
  • My take: I have to agree with the consensus that this extension will end up being a major albatross for the Tigers.  It would be one thing if Detroit had a bunch of well-regarded prospects ready to give the team quality production for a few seasons' worth of minimum salaries, but the Tigers' farm system was recently ranked 28th in the 2014 Baseball America Prospect Handbook.  With little minor league help on the immediate horizon, it makes even less sense to tie up so much money in just a few players.  It also puts pressure on Nick Castellanos (the club's top prospect) to contribute right away as the everyday third baseman and puts even more pressure on GM Dave Dombrowski to restock the farm with some quality drafts.

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.

Reactions To Tigers’ Scherzer Statement

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 Tigers' last offer to Scherzer was reported by Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports to match Cole Hamels' July 2012 deal with the Phillies: six years, $144MM.

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.     

Tigers, Scherzer Done Talking Extension For Season

3:00pm: Morosi tweets the Tigers' offer was for six years and $144MM, identical to Cole Hamels2012 extension.

1:07 pm: Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports also spoke with Boras and the agent indicated both sides were active in talks and there was a price point at which Scherzer would have said yes, but he declined to disclose the details of his proposal to the Tigers (Twitter links).

12:25 pm: Scott Boras tells ESPN.com it wasn't Scherzer who rejected the extension offer, but the Tigers. "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,'' Boras said. "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."

10:58am: An industry source told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark that the Tigers' offer to Scherzer was for a slightly lower figure than the $25.7MM per year that Justin Verlander received in the extension he signed last spring.  However, the deal still would have placed Scherzer among the top six highest-paid pitchers in baseball in terms of average annual value.

That means that the offer would have averaged at least $24MM a year. The only pitchers currently earning that much or more are the Clayton Kershaw ($30.7MM per year), Verlander ($25.7MM), Felix Hernandez ($25MM), Zack Greinke ($24.5MM), C.C. Sabathia ($24.4MM), Cliff Lee ($24MM), and Cole Hamels ($24MM).

It's worth noting that there's no word yet on how many years the Tigers offered Scherzer or whether there was an opt-out clause in the final proposal.

8:11am: The Tigers announced that Max Scherzer has rejected the Tigers' latest extension offer, meaning that talks between the two sides are done for the season.  The pitcher has made it known that he would not negotiate a new contract during the 2014 season.

"This can be a major distraction," Scherzer said back in February. "I understand I have a chance to secure my future here with the team. I want that to happen. But at the same time, I’m not going to drag negotiations out into the season."

The Tigers' release indicates that the club made a "substantial, long-term contract extension offer…that would have placed him among the highest paid pitchers in baseball."  Moving forward, they say, there will be no further talks during the year.

Scherzer, a Scott Boras client, will play out his last arbitration-eligible season on a one-year, $15.525MM deal that broke the record for a raise by a five-year service time pitcher.  The 29-year-old was stellar last season, posting a 2.90 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 214 1/3 innings. With Clayton Kershaw locked up and taken out of the 2015 free agent market, Scherzer will now stand as the premier pitcher next winter.   

While no one can reasonably use Kershaw as a comparable, his new seven-year, $215MM deal with the Dodgers certainly raises the ceiling for top starters like Scherzer.  As our own Jeff Todd noted in January, Masahiro Tanaka's seven-year, $155MM deal ($175MM when including $20MM posting fee) could have been relevant to Boras' case.

Edward Creech contributed to this post.