Max Scherzer just continues to dominate.
After finishing his first career complete game shutout Thursday night in Chicago, Scherzer is putting up a strong case to defend his AL Cy Young Award from 2013. An 8-2 record, 3.05 ERA, 10.1 K/9IP, and a 3.79 K/BB ratio are all evidence of another outstanding year from the Detroit ace.
The soon to be 30 year old right hander will most likely not stay in the Motor City beyond 2014, however. In March, the Tigers announced that they had ended contract negotiations with Max Scherzer, which would effectively make the star a free agent this coming winter.
Scherzer is coming off of a career year, a year where he finished 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA. Despite many teams being skeptical (rightfully so) to sign 30 year old free agents to lucrative, long term deals, Scherzer may be a fit for several teams.
The most obvious fit is of course the Detroit Tigers themselves, who would love to re-open negotiations, but would not be subject to any sort of hometown discount. With the struggles of former ace Justin Verlander, Scherzer can increase his value to a Tigers team that has been perennially competitive and still lacks a World Series title. The Tigers are in dire need of a long term piece to continue this success, especially after locking up future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera for the rest of his life (Or until 2025, the last year he has a vesting option).
Outside of Detroit, there are several other teams that Scherzer could be of great service to, one notably being the Chicago Cubs, who have a large amount of leftover money to spend after missing out on Masahiro Tanaka. Besides the leftover money, the Cubs have one of the strongest farm systems in MLB, and with a large crop of their prospects expected to be MLB ready within the next year, signing Scherzer may very well be the difference between being a contender and being a cellar dweller in 2015.
Across town, the Chicago White Sox could definitely become pennant contenders with the addition of Scherzer. Outside of the robust offense the ChiSox have produced thus far, other than ace Chris Sale the White Sox have awful pitching. Adding a Scherzer-Sale one-two punch would make the White Sox very dangerous and would at the very least make them favorites to win the AL Central in 2015.
Or perhaps the Houston Astros will take a go at Scherzer, a team that is in a situation very similar to the Cubs. While the Astros most likely won’t have the funds to offer Scherzer a large, lucrative deal, they can perhaps be sleepers in what may be a very eventful sweepstakes for the ace. The Astros also have a strong farm system and are finally seeing their prospects bearing fruit on the big league team, most notably with George Springer and Jonathan Singleton. The addition of a skilled, experienced veteran would make a huge difference for the Astros.
The Tigers are willing to do anything to reclaim their ace for the rest of his career. But with the opportunities endless for Max Scherzer, testing the open market and finding a new home come 2015 seem quite likely.