February 3rd, 2014

Scherzer’s market value: 7 years, $196 million?

Those are the numbers floated out by Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio and ESPN in his latest piece Monday (ESPN Insider subscription required). That fits with reports earlier this offseason that Scherzer and agent Scott Boras were seeking contract terms matching or surpassing what Justin Verlander agreed to last spring.

It’s a huge commitment, but it’s not hard to see Scherzer getting that on the open market next winter. Bowden, however, thinks the Tigers could at least come close enough to keep him. Scherzer and Boston’s Jon Lester are Bowden’s two picks for pending free-agent starters most likely to sign new contracts by Opening Day.

 Even though Scherzer is represented by Scott Boras, who prefers to take his clients to free agency, it appears Scherzer prefers to remain loyal to the Tigers — if they’re willing to pay him close to his market value of seven years, $196 million.

Tigers President Dave Dombrowski has a long history of doing deals with Boras, and the moves Dombrowski has made this offseason to reduce payroll give him enough room to get this deal done.

Verlander signed last spring for seven years and $180 million guaranteed, with a $22 million vesting option for 2020 that would be guaranteed if he finishes in the top five in 2019 Cy Young voting. If you count the option, then Verlander had the first $200 million contract for a pitcher, but Clayton Kershaw was the first to get $200 million guaranteed.

Both Team Boras and the Tigers are keeping pretty quiet on the Scherzer front these days. Dave Dombrowski is scheduled to have one more media session later this week before heading to Lakeland.