By: Eric Thomas
Many Tigers fans are stomping their feet and crying, holding their breath until they get their way. They’ve been cut off. The trust fund has run out.
As it turns out: money is a finite resource. It’s true. Mr. Ilitch has been more than generous, but it’s time to bring the Tiger payroll under control. The team paid a lot of money for Justin Verlander, a king’s ransom for Prince Fielder, and a ton for Anibal Sanchez. You can’t pay Max Scherzer, the American League’s latest Cy Young winner 22-25 million dollars a year in this market. He’s gotta go.
You’ve been spoiled in the last few years. The Tigers payroll has been bubbling among the league’s most bloated, adding fat contracts every year since 2012. The past two years have been amazing—a chance to see how the other coasts live. Mike Ilitch backed up a Brinks truck and allowed Scott Boras to leap inside like Augustus Gloop, and the city owes him a debt for allowing Tiger fans to live our fondest champagne dreams in a city with barely a beer budget.
Let’s put this bluntly: the Tigers need to trade Max Scherzer. You’re going to need to get over that. If they don’t trade him, he will walk out of here and you’ll get nothing in return. Trade him and the Tigers can make the playoffs a while longer.
Fans have had trouble accepting this. They sound a bit like a child, whose parents are trying to tacitly break the news.
“But I WANT Max Scherzer. He was really good last year.”
“I’m sorry,” the parent measures the tone, “he’s going to be too expensive next year and…”
“But I WANT him to play for the Tigers!”
“I know you do…but think about all the good bullpen arms you get in exchange for him. Why, the Nationals—“
“I don’t WANT bullpen arms! I want Max Scherzer!”
The parent thinks about a cigarette, even though they quit a decade ago. “Yes, I know you want Max Scherzer.”
“I want you to sign Max Scherzer, NOW!”
The parent thinks of an angle, swoops down to a knee. “Do you remember last year? When you were winning all those games? Do you remember?”
“Remember how the starting pitching was great and then in the eighth inning, they went to the bullpen?”
“That’s cuz Jim Leyland is stupid.”
“No, no…” beer, whiskey, gin, Jägermeister “every team has relief pitchers. Anyway, do you remember those games?”
“Okay, well, think about that. You’ll have a good bullpen if you trade Max Scherzer. Really, his value has never been higher.”
“I WANT MAX SCHERZER. AND I WANT BULLPEN ARMS!”
The parent says through gritted teeth, “I told you.” Rubbing the temples, “we can’t afford Max Scherzer. We don’t need four Cy Young level starters anyway. Two grand slams in the ALCS—”
“That’s cuz Leyland STUPID.”
“Jim Leyland wasn’t in charge of pers—“
“I want Santa to bring me Max Scherzer.”
Deep, laddered breath. “Santa.”
“Santa can afford Max Scherzer.”
Everclear, Absinthe, “I’m not sure Santa can afford…”
“YES HE CAN.”