Boras: Scherzer “has positioned himself to be prominent” on free-agent market
Max Scherzer hasn’t said much about his free-agent situation since the season began, as he forecasted. He wasn’t saying much about it on All-Star media day, either.
“I’m still numb to it,” Scherzer said of the pending pitching, including himself, set to hit the market this winter. “The only thing that motivates me, the only thing that I want more, is to win in Detroit this year. That’s my number one goal. That’s the only thing I can think about, and the only thing I want. Everything else, from the off-field standpoint, takes care of itself.”
Fortunately, the guy Scherzer pays to handle those things was in the same ballroom as the media day festivities.
“You view that as a distraction,” agent Scott Boras said. “We view that as everyday life. When you are a player and you’re going year by year, it’s the same thing every year. You’re accepting or you’re making decisions and then you’re going out and performing.
“I think Max’s focus is on winning, it’s about performance and how well his team does, and that’s the same thing he was doing last year. So I don’t think that [has changed]. I mean, Max is really, really good at a plan. He’s very very good at structuring a plan around what he wants to get done. And his focus every day is on that plan. He’s got unfulfilled goals in Detroit that he wants to accomplish, and that is at the forefront of really what he wants to do day in and day out.”
At last year’s All-Star Game, Boras was reveling in representing both starting pitchers — Scherzer and Matt Harvey. It was there that Boras said Tigers fans shouldn’t be scared of free agency, because free agency has been good to Detroit.
There certainly seems to be some fear now. The Tigers hoped to get Scherzer signed in Spring Training, of course, but the two sides couldn’t find the right number. Scherzer took some public scrutiny for not taking a six-year, $144 million offer, though others expected the market to meet him.
After Scherzer’s 11-3 first-half record and a complete-game shutout, nobody is second-guessing him anymore. And Boras can afford to gloat a little.
Look, when you do these things, when you’re talking about the type of money involved you’re always the village idiot until the player is outside the village,” Boras said. “Believe me, I’ve got 15 ways to explain it. …
“I don’t expect anything but the fans to come out and watch him pitch, support him and understand what he means to the franchise. And I think with each day Max pitches, and each year he performs there, the perception of Max as a valued member of the Detroit Tigers is certainly increasing and more understood by the fans in Detroit.”
They’re also understanding what happens when this season is over. Both sides agreed not to negotiate during the season, and Boras said they’re sticking to it. That puts Scherzer on track to hit the open market as most likely the biggest arm.
“Currently the way he’s going, obviously Max has positioned himself to be prominent,” Boras said. “There just aren’t many people in the league with 32 wins and six losses. That might be a separator. It just might be something that few people do.
“The other thing is who Max is, because Max is a contributor to his teammates. I think the Detroit pitching staff has gotten better. I think they all communicate with one another. I think their egos are all in check. He’s a good teammate, too. He’s a competitor, so his leadership is of great value to a franchise.”
That does not mean Boras and Scherzer have closed the door on a new deal in Detroit.
“I’ve said this long ago, the Detroit franchise is a franchise of choice,” Boras continued. “And Mike Ilitch, if he deems Max to be somebody that’s important to them, we certainly have not in any way … our position to the Tigers, and the value to the Tigers, how well Max does in Detroit, none of that’s changed as far as us listening to anything Detroit may have to say when the offseason comes.”