Scherzer to WDFN: We saw this coming two years ago
At some point two years ago, Max Scherzer said, he and fellow Tigers starter Rick Porcello looked at each other and saw this time coming, when Detroit’s rotation would have to be broken up.
“We sat on the bench and we saw this coming really two years ago,” Scherzer told Matt Shepard on WDFN Friday morning. “We saw where everybody was at in their contracts. We sat there and realized this team is going to get a major facelift in the next two years. There’s just no way you can keep everybody on board.”
That was around the time the Tigers signed Justin Verlander to his contract extension. Until then, Verlander and Scherzer were both on track to become free agents in the same offseason, with Porcello on track a year later.
“We looked at each other,” Scherzer continued, “like, ‘Which one of us is going to go?'”
Turns out, it was both of them — Scherzer as a free agent, Porcello via trade.
Much like Scherzer’s decision to sign his seven-year, $210 million deal with the Nationals last month, he said, it’s part of the business. Scherzer tried to explain his side of it.
“I realize how fortunate I am and how blessed I am to be in this position,” he told Shepard. “This was never about greed or I need more money per se, but it was about a business decision and trying to maximize what you’re worth. And for me, I was in the position to take full advantage of that and the Nationals came through and put a contract offer in front of me that … was jaw-dropping. …
“It’s the business part of the game. The business part of the game is ugly. I mean, look at it from the other side. I’ve seen so many of my friends get cut and released and all taken advantage of because at the end of the day, we say it’s the business part of the game. I just took advantage of the business side of the game to benefit me. For fans and everybody, it’s a hard concept to see. You get emotionally attached to your sports teams, but the players, we live and breathe the business side of the game because it’s right in front of us all the time. For players, it is a part of what goes on.”
Scherzer said the six-year, $144 million offer from the Tigers last spring was the last of their negotiations. He didn’t want to talk during the season, and there wasn’t much contact after the season ended.
“There was a point in time when we reached out to the Tigers to see if they were still interested,” Scherzer said, “and they conveyed to us that they weren’t, that they were fine with where their rotation was at moving forward. And that’s just kind of how we left it.”
When Scherzer had his press conference in D.C., much was made of his comment that the Nationals offered the best chance to win. He tried to clarify that Friday, saying the Nationals had the best chance to win among his choices.
“I never once ever said Detroit couldn’t win,” Scherzer said. “I actually do think Detroit can win. I think Detroit has a very good ballclub and they’re going to be a tough team in the American League. They just weren’t one of the teams in the final [mix]. …
“Of the teams that were really down to the end, the Nationals to me gave me the best opportunity. So because of that, that’s the reason why I told Scott [Boras] at the end, ‘Let’s just negotiate with the Nationals.'”
Bottom line, he said, “I had a great time in Detroit. It’s not like I left Detroit on bad terms. But it’s like that for all sports, every city. All fans get attached to the guys they get to see every single night, and and the talent we bring to the table. It’s just part of the game of how this goes down.”
More from Scherzer:
- On his full-page ad in Detroit newspapers thanking fans: “You can’t please everybody. I’m over trying to please everybody. It was me personally trying to say, ‘Look, my time here in Detroit was absolutely special. It’s something I’ll never forget.’ I’ve had some of the best moments in my career, in my entire life really, there in Detroit. I just wanted to take a chance and put it out and say I really thank everybody who was a fan of me and appreciated watching me. It was very much appreciated and something I’ll never forget.”
- On what he’ll miss: “I think it’s just everything — the clubhouse, wearing the olde English D, everything about it, Mr. I, the whole thing. It’s tough, but that’s the way things go sometimes. That chapter in my life here in Detroit was great, and I just look forward to going on to what I’m going to do next.”
- On Nationals rotation compared to Tigers rotation: “The only thing I can really say is obviously on paper it looks good, but I’ve got to see these guys up close and personal to really see what they can bring to the table. I know what I saw in Detroit. I got to watch every single guy go about their business and try to emulate one thing from everybody. That’s what it looks like I’ll be able to do here in Washington as well. They have an unbelievably talented rotation and you just sit back and watch every single night and watch what they do, pick apart what they do well.”