Boras: No word that Tigers won’t pursue Scherzer
While most of America was getting ready for another football Sunday, Scott Boras was talking with MLB Network Radio about his time to shine, the baseball offseason. And aside from the Newsday report a few days ago about Manny Ramirez, and an explanation about the agent-player relationship, nearly every question from former Major League general managers Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden dealt with Boras’ top free-agent client this winter, Max Scherzer. That included a question from Bowden whether the Tigers are still involved.
“I’ve never heard anything from anyone to suggest they’re not,” Boras said. “You have to remember that over the past 3-4 years, when you go back and look at the Detroit Tigers, as good as they are with all the offensive weaponry and pitching they have, when Max Scherzer pitches, they win 70% of their games. In all other games, the Tigers play at about 54%. So Max Scherzer has a huge impact on the success of the Detroit Tigers.”
That meshes with Dave Dombrowski’s wait-and-see-what-happens comments from Friday regarding Scherzer, even if the team winning percentage seems like an incomplete formula for judging value.
A report from Jon Heyman at this week’s General Managers meetings in Arizona stated there was very little buzz about Scherzer’s market. There have more reports about teams that supposedly aren’t interested in bidding for Scherzer than there have been reports of teams that are.
“A lot of teams in baseball want a number one starter,” Boras said, “so when you’re talking about a high profile and highly compensated player, teams want to make sure that they express their interest and they do it in a very private, unsuspecting manner. They talk about what moves they can make with their team to either add or make room for a guy like Max. The one thing we know is that the past 11-12 years, when you go back and look at the World Series champion, they had a starter on their team that had a 3.6 WAR or above. that means you’re a number one guy.”
Scherzer had a 6.0 WAR this year by the baseball-reference formula, or 5.6 WAR by the formula that Fangraphs uses. He has had better than a 3.6 WAR every season since 2012.
One thing Boras seemed to hint it in the quote above is that some teams that might appear set with their rotation could end up making a trade to open up a spot for Scherzer. He didn’t mention any specific teams in that predicament, though the Nationals had trade rumors regarding Jordan Zimmermann last week. Washington supposedly had talked about Scherzer last year before trading for Doug Fister.
“I think that there are a number of teams that have a two-step process,” Boras said. “Say you need bullpen or you need catching or you need offense, whatever your other weakness. You can trade one of your good pitchers for someone like that and also then add a number one, which then strengthens your team in two areas. …
“So the club acquiring Max both gets someone offensive or someone who fills a hole in the bullpen and gets a number one, and they trade a number two or a number three pitcher they have under control.”
Boras did not give any indication how many teams have expressed interest, saying some teams won’t react until their division competitors make moves, and others won’t react until making the trades they need to fill room.
“It’s really early in the process to fully examine who’s interested in a player of this type,” Boras said. “In the endm normally with players at this level, you can always say it’s narrowed down to 3-4 teams, but the truth of the matter is, who those 3-4 teams are to be, I don’t think the owners know themselves.”
Boras made a point to downplay concerns about Scherzer’s wear and wear.
“Certainly the most unique thing about Max is that he’s just finished his 29-year-old season, but in pitches thrown and in innings pitched Max is comparable to [Clayton] Kershaw, who’s 26,” Boras said. “Max has … 1200 innings in his career, and … you have to go back to CC Sabathia when he was 25, Felix Hernandez when he was 25, Tanaka at 24, so all these pitchers who received major contracts, Max Scherzer is the equivalent of age 26 inningswise when he’s signing his contract. So his pitching odometer, which we created, is one of the lowest for someone who has his experience.”