The Detroit Tigers are a team built to win now. That much is clear through their payroll but many observers believe that the Tigers’ spending habits are not sustainable in the long run. Assuming that is the case, the Tigers will have a number of difficult decisions to make in the near future.
With long term, big money deals already on the books for Prince Fielder and Anibal Sanchez and new deals for Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander looming, the Tigers won’t be able to keep the band together forever.
One player who could be impacted is Max Scherzer. He has one year of arbitration eligibility remaining before he can become a free agent. Might the Tigers reach a long-term extension with Scherzer before he hits the open market?
Lynn Henning touched on the topic of Scherzer’s contract status in today’s Detroit News as one of ten observations from spring training so far:
Pitcher Max Scherzer said all the right things the other day. On a personal level, he absolutely would like to stay with the Tigers. But unless his agent, Scott Boras, changes stances and decides on an early contract extension, Boras will take Scherzer to free agency at the end of the 2014 season. Boras always ushers his blue-chip free agents to the open market. And if anyone was aware of his agent’s preferences, it was the cerebral businessman, Scherzer.
Theoretically an agent works for the player but the scenario presented here shows just how much power Boras wields. The Tigers have dealt with Boras on a number of occasions but the phrase “hometown discount” never applies.
I don’t begrudge a player getting as much as he can get, after all, I would certainly do the same. But what happens if Boras takes Scherzer to free agency and the Tigers can’t or won’t offer top dollar? Only then might we find out who is truly driving the bus.