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Maxing Out: Scherzer Is Tigers’ Greatest Contractual Challenge Yet

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BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 19: Max Scherzer #37 of the Detroit Tigers catches a bunted ball in the third inning hits a by Shane Victorino #18 of the Boston Red Sox during Game Six of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 19, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 19: Max Scherzer #37 of the Detroit Tigers catches a bunted ball in the third inning hits a by Shane Victorino #18 of the Boston Red Sox during Game Six of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 19, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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LAKELAND, Fla. — The Tigers have done as good a job as just about anyone in baseball of not only procuring great players, but in keeping them, too. To do so, they’ve overcome some obvious obstacles; Detroit isn’t exactly a glamour city, and its baseball revenue can’t compete with the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs or many others.

Yet, with the expanding overall net worth via Detroit casinos and other entities and the win-first attitude of its owner warmly called Mr. I, a misleading moniker for baseball’s most team-focused owner, the pizza and now casino king Mike Ilitch, the Tigers have managed to sign superstar pitcher Justin Verlander to not one but two huge contracts. Plus, they were able to sign hitting mega star Miguel Cabrera to one mega deal, and have solid hopes for making it two this spring. What’s more, they managed to re-sign Anibal Sanchez, even after he became a free agent, securing him with the authorization for extra funds from Mr. I that their excellent baseball staff seemed reluctant to offer.

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