By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – The likelihood of the Detroit Tigers retaining Max Scherzer has dropped dramatically over the weekend.
The Tigers announced Sunday morning that they made an offer to Scherzer, who had the season of his career in 2013, winning 21 games, starting the All-Star Game, recording a 2.90 ERA and 0.970 WHIP, and winning the Cy Young.
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski did not give details of the offer when he talked to reporters at spring training Sunday, but according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, Detroit offered Scherzer a six-year, $144 million deal.
Scherzer, who turns 30 in July and enters free agency after this season, evidently did not think the Tigers offered him a sufficient amount.
The team released a statement about the status of their conversations with the pitcher.
“The Detroit Tigers have made a substantial, long-term contract extension offer to Max Scherzer that would have placed him among the highest paid pitchers in baseball, and the offer was rejected,” the team stated in a press release. “As we have reiterated, it has been the organization’s intent to extend Max’s contract and keep him in a Tigers uniform well beyond the 2014 season.
“While this offer would have accomplished that, the ballclub’s focus remains on the start of the upcoming season, and competing for a World Championship,” the statement continued. “Moving forward there will be no further in-season negotiation and the organization will refrain from commenting on this matter.”
The Tigers signed a one-year, $15.525 million deal with Scherzer for this season back in January. While the organization had always said it hoped Scherzer would stay, the possibility he would test the market loomed large, particularly since the pitcher has the free-agency-happy Scott Boras as his agent.
Speaking of Boras, baseball’s best known agent responded to the statement by the Tigers by tweaking it into a statement of his own.
“Max Scherzer made a substantial long-term offer to the Tigers that would have placed him among the highest-paid pitchers in baseball, and that offer was rejected,” Boras told ESPN and others. “Max has stated he is happy in Detroit with the city, the fans and his teammates. He looks forward to further discussion of a contract proposal at season’s end.”
As if the chances of Scherzer returning did not look slim enough with him headed for free agency, the not-so-subtle war of words between the team and Scherzer’s agent seems to indicate that the likelihood of the pitcher staying in Detroit is diminishing daily.