By Eric Thomas
Since the Tigers told the media Max Scherzer rejected a six year, $144 million dollar offer from the team, some fans were not kind.
An avalanche of self righteous indignation erupted on social media. “So Scherzer has a few pretty good seasons and thinks he’s worth more than 6 years $144 million,” said one person on Twitter, sarcastically adding, “Yea that makes sense.”
A fan from Rochester Hills posed the question, “I guess I understand why Max Scherzer turned down Detroit’s sizable offer, but how many yachts can you water ski behind?”
Another was more blunt, “**** Max Scherzer.”
For fans who struggle to scrape together enough money to pay the bills every month, a person scoffing at $24 million a year sounds like the definition of megalomania. You have a point, but Max doesn’t set the market. He’s a player in the game. The reason athletes make so much money is because there are people willing to pay those head-spinning sums.
Many fans on social media have said, correctly, that Max is after Clayton Kershaw money. They’re right; he is. He’s probably going to get it, too.
CBS Detroit’s Ashley Dunkak wrote earlier that Max isn’t worth the extra money, pointing out that pitchers like Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, Kershaw, and CC Sabathia had longer resumés than Max, and therefore Scherzer hasn’t done enough to earn a Brinks truck busting deal. I’d like to politely disagree.
King Felix, JV and Sabathia were sure to sign with their teams. It’s not often that Cy Young award winners are available on the open market—though in 2014 looks like there may be two, with David Price and Max set to test the open market at the season’s end. Scherzer’s willingness to leave is in and of itself valuable, and two of baseball’s biggest spenders—Yanks & Sawks—are in the market for starting pitching. That alone will drive the price up, and expect the Angels and Dodgers to take a swipe at Max, as they all operate in markets with astronomical TV contracts.
Athletes are competitive by nature. They know what their contract is, and they know what other players are getting. Competition isn’t limited to ERA or WAR, no matter how much any of them say they aren’t thinking about it. Any person with the drive to become a professional athlete also has the drive to be the highest paid. It comes with the territory. Fans might not want to hear it, but it makes sense. Would you want to leave money on the table?
Fans who dismiss Scherzer as greedy are hypocrites. If someone was willing to pay you an extra $40 million to do your job, would you take it? Of course you would, and you’d be crazy to pass on the opportunity. Just because Max has made a lot of money in the past doesn’t mean he should turn his back on more money. He’s worked hard to get where he is, and he deserves whatever he collects from a market willing to hand it out. Everyone wants to feel like they’re worth more. Getting paid more money means you’re worth more. It’s not just business, its competitive.
Let the man play the game.