Discussing a contract extension with Max Scherzer originally appeared to be one of the top offseason priorities for the Detroit Tigers, but the two sides have yet to come close to a potential deal that will keep the right-hander in Motown for long. With Spring Training rapidly approaching the two sides may be quickly running out of time, as Scherzer is hoping that an extension can be reached before the regular season begins. He has no intentions of letting negotiations linger into the 2014 season, according to MLB.com’s Jason Beck.
Without an extension in place, Scherzer will reach free agency next winter and could be one of the most attractive arms available.
Beck was among a group of reporters at Comerica Park on Thursday afternoon, speaking with a select group of players during a media session planned by the team before the start of their winter caravan. Scherzer was apparently unusually forthcoming about his contract situation:
We’ve had conversations. The biggest thing was hammering out 2014 and getting the arb case settled. That was important for me to have that secured.
Honestly, this is the place I want to be. I’m comfortable here. I love being part of the Tigers. So hopefully we can get something done before Spring Training, otherwise I’m confident after the season we can completely resolve this.
Scherzer is 73-45 in his career with a 3.62 ERA, 1.229 WHIP, and 9.4 K/9 over six seasons. His 2013 was easily the best of his career as he went 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and a league-leading 0.970 WHIP – good enough to win him the AL Cy Young Award. A solid 2014 season could guarantee that Scherzer’s next deal will be among the game’s richest. He’ll earn $15.25 Million in 2014, but it’s tough to predict what an extension may ultimately look like.
Detroit has the payroll flexibility to work in an extension for Scherzer, following their Ian Kinsler/Prince Fielder trade from December, but the team would still be committing a significant chunk of their future payroll to just two starters (along with Justin Verlander, who’ll be earning $28 Million a year starting in 2015) if they do lock him up beyond next season.