No active talks on Scherzer, but no closed door

A day after agent Scott Boras said the pursuit of free-agent pitcher Max Scherzer “is not church bingo,” Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski suggested that — at least for now — they’re not playing the game.

But just because the Tigers aren’t in active talks on Scherzer right now doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bidding farewell.

“I guess anything can happen,” Dombrowski said Thursday, “but we’re not in active pursuit at this time. We’re happy with our starting pitching. Again, we love him, but as I said at the time, we were the sole club that could sign him last spring. It didn’t work. I don’t think our odds improve with 29 other clubs that could potentially try to sign him.”

Effectively, it’s the same update Dombrowski gave on Scherzer twice this week during baseball’s Winter Meetings, which wrapped up on Thursday. Dombrowski made the remarks in the media room at the press conference to announce their trade of Porcello to Boston for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.

While talks on Cespedes had been rumored all week, the Tigers’ stance was that they could not give up Porcello or Cy Young winner David Price without some assurance of adding another proven pitcher. If the Tigers swung a deal, the logic followed, it could be a harbinger of progress on a new contract for Scherzer.

Instead, Dombrowski accounted for the loss of Porcello by trading for Reds starter (and converted reliever) Alfredo Simon. He then told reporters the trade meant nothing in regards to their chances on Scherzer.

“Our situation with him has not changed whatsoever,” Dombrowski said. “I’m not sure how many times we have to talk about this situation, but I know it keeps coming up. We love Max. He did a great job for us. Tried to sign him last spring. We really made an effort in that regard.”

Dombrowski was referring to the six-year, $144 million contract offer they made to Scherzer in Spring Training. Scherzer opted to play out the season and hit free agency, and Boras referred to the offer during his annual Winter Meetings session with reporters Wednesday.

“He’s always on the information train to improve himself, to evaluate his market,” Boras said. “Last year, he really turned down a deal that was seven years and $160 million. He looked at the markets … and he really wanted to have the opportunity for choice, to see what teams are interested in him.”

Boras later clarified that he was including Scherzer’s 2014 contract — a one-year, $15.5 million deal to avoid arbitration — in the total, as teams and agents often do on contract extensions for players just shy of free agency.

By adding Simon, the Tigers have five starting pitchers. In Simon’s case, they have a starter who also has extensive experience pitching in relief, including 19 career saves. Three-quarters of his 209 Major League appearances have been out of the bullpen.

In other words, there’s a spot for Scherzer if he returns, and it wouldn’t take a lot of maneuvering, at least with the roster. The payroll could be another matter, since the trades don’t create any space from that standpoint.

Asked about Scherzer expressing a desire to return to Detroit, Boras said, “Certainly I’ve had this conversation with the Tigers about his willingness to return, and that’s been expressed at every level. He’s had a great experience in Detroit. Detroit can be a winning team and he’s very familiar with it, obviously, so he is certainly willing.”

Boras said the Tigers will not get the right to match a final offer from another club when it comes time to make a decision, a sign that the Tigers could be out of the bidding altogether. However, an industry source suggested Tigers owner Mike Ilitch will get a chance from Boras — an agent with whom he was completed many a free-agent contract — to match a final offer, at least as a professional courtesy.

37 Comments

Now who do you bat 2nd in 2015?
for what it’s worth their 2014 OBP:
JD Martinez: .358
Centipedes: .296
Ian: .307
Casty: .306
Rajai: .320
Vmart: .409

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Max is great pitcher but the funds ran out or we are right against luxury tax. Tigers should try upgrade bullpen through another trade.

Max proved last spring he doesn’t want to be here and he’s as greedy as his agent. A match made in heaven as far as i can see. Dillusional as far as I can tell if they believe he deserves to be the highest paid pitcher in baseball. Two slimy peas in a pod.

Hey Greg, good to hear from you and as always, I like what you wrote. I wonder what my hero Al Kaline is thinking about Max and all the money in the game today. So many people question what Dave is doing but we have won the Central 4 years in a row. Do I agree with everything he does? No, but I continue to wear my colors whenever I can. The Tigers are my team and I know it will change from year to year.

I like Max a lot but would enjoy him more if he were pitching somewhere in the national league. We need a bullpen that is just nasty in the second half of the season more than we need Max. With the lineup we have, the middle of the order needs to be managed to stay healthy all year long, especially in the second half.

While it would appear that $cherzer/Bora$ have misread the market, everyone knows that’s not the case. They’re just playing their game. Meanwhile, Detroit has acquired a pitcher (Simon) that can slot in as a starter or as bullpen help. Very shrewd positioning on their part. Any contract with the Tigers will obviously have to be higher than the one turned down in the spring; taking less would be an unacceptable loss for our dynamic duo of intrepid fortune seekers.
It’s marginally fun to watch but personally I don’t care one way or the other.

Lets say they have misread the market…..any chance the take us up on our offer from the spring?

I don’t think so….. i don’t think their egos will allow it. I’m surprised his head still fits through the door. I agree Rich it is amusing to watch. I honestly just don’t think he is worth what they are talking about. He’s had 1 excellent year and moments in others. He wasn’t good in the playoffs this year and ok in the previous year. His overall track record is average overall. Also i heard on the radio per boras himself that contact he turned down last year was closer to 166 7 years that included a 7th option year. So it was even worse than 1st thought

Jason twitted about that: the 160 were the 144 for a 6 year extension plus the 2014 contract to avoid arbitration.
I see another bail out unless the Nats pull the trigger

As I clearly said up there, accepting the March offer would be a loss for them. It would have to be higher, even if only a little higher, and DD/Ilitch would accommodate them on that as smart businessmen.
I’m not an expert on this stuff but I can read people.

I think that Scherzer wont take less than Verlander. It is not greed but keeping up with the Jones.

Jon Morosi ‏@jonmorosi · 25m25 minutes ago
“#Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski confirmed to me that team did not have “any long term contract discussions” with Rick Porcello. @FOXSport”
Maybe they will extend Price once the fog clears and both now where they stand. 200 /7 for Price would not be farfetched.

While I like Porcello, and think he will do well, does anyone think he is a $100M + pitcher? Because he will get this next year.

Expectation around baseball is that Price will test free agency. Could be wrong, but my guess is it would take something in Kershaw’s range to get him to bypass the open market.

So has the ORG mentioned that they are counting on Rondon this year? Because…i’m 97% sure that Rondon isn’t far enough away from his TJS to be worth a darn. I’d be willing to bet Phil Coke has better 2015 numbers and Bruce Rondon.

….THAN Bruce…

Reds got Simon off waivers from Baltimore. He made $1.5 million last season is arbitration eligible and should get major bump in pay after last season. free agency next year.

Projected: 5.1 MM

he’ll need another couple years and he can pay the 15M dollar civil suit, then

The was I see it Jason Beck wants Max Scherzer at all costs. Us the fans think othewise. I believe that Max is really a # 2 starter because David Price is far better than him. For Ricky situation the trade makes sense because he hooked up with Boris.

he’s been hooked up with that snake since go street – i thought that was why we were able to even get him!

Boras made him drop to the bottom of the draft. But Porcello fired him two or three years ago,before opting out of the major League Contract Boras got for him

oh yeah he’s a Hendricks Sports guy duh, my bad

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I dont see Scherzer with the Tigers. Porcello will have problem in the Babip inducing Fenway. Scherzer and his FB and due to regress HR/9 not to mention RH at Yankee Stadium wont fare better

Eury de laRosa DFA by DBack, He wont clear waiver but long enough to be claimed but if so , he is worth the risk.

i’m interested. hey what about phil coke, any uh, chance of a reunion?

Nothing going between Tigers and Phil Coke at last check.

Remember Hammerhead is in the mix for a spot in the bullben .. David

Start a freakin baseball franchise!! :o) http://www.franchiseball.com

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