Should the Detroit Tigers Trade Max Scherzer This Winter?
Rumors have been swirling that the Detroit Tigers may shop SP Max Scherzer this off-season and if they get a good enough offer, they’ll deal the ace right-hander. Scherzer headlined a Tigers rotation in 2013 that also featured 2011 Cy Young and MVP winner, Justin Verlander, a flame throwing, strikeout, innings eating machine in Anibal Sanchez, and the unheralded Doug Fister, who is their #4 starter and could be so many teams’ #2 starter. The Tigers’ season was ended last week after they lost to the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS in six games with the elimination game at Fenway Park. It was a great season for the Tigers after getting swept in the World Series in 2012 by the San Francisco Giants. The Tigers defeated the Oakland A’s in the ALDS in five games for the second straight year. Last year they swept the New York Yankees in the ALCS, but unfortunately found trouble with the Yankees’ biggest rival this year in the ALCS. The Tigers finished the season at 93-69 and most likely have the eventual AL MVP in Miguel Cabrera (.348 AVG, 44 HR’s, 137 RBI’s, .442 OBP, .636 SLUG, 1.078 OPS) and AL Cy Young winner in Max Scherzer (21-3, 2.90 ERA, 240 K’s, 0.97 WHIP, and .198 BAA in 214.1 innings). The Tigers might also have the AL Comeback Player Of The Year in C/DH Victor Martinez, who came back from a torn ACL and batted .301, with 14 homers, 83 RBI’s, and a .355 OBP. With all of the talent and star power on this Tigers team, it’s somewhat surprising how they didn’t win the AL pennant.
Now this rumor of the Tigers possibly trading Max Scherzer this winter, in my opinion, is complete and utter nonsense. Do I think the Tigers would listen to offers for Scherzer? Of course, any player should be listened for, excluding Miguel Cabrera. Do I think a team would be willing to meet the Tigers’ asking price for Scherzer? No. Scherzer just had one of the best seasons for a starting pitcher, is 29 years old, and is in the middle of his prime. The Tigers would be asking, or should be asking, for any teams 3 best prospects for Scherzer and I just don’t see a team trading that for a pitcher. The reason the Tigers will listen to offers and maybe trade Scherzer is because he is entering the final year of his contract and would bring a huge haul back to Detroit.
Trading Scherzer weakens this team a lot and would be a big mistake. At the moment, Scherzer is the Tigers’ best pitcher and for a team that is a World Series contender and probably a few bullpen additions away from making it back to the Fall classic, the Tigers cannot and absolutely should not trade Scherzer. The kid finally found his absolute potential this season and is quickly one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. I don’t think the Dodgers would trade Clayton Kershaw, I don’t think the Red Sox would trade Jon Lester, I don’t think the Rangers would trade Yu Darvish, and I don’t think the Angels would trade Jered Weaver. If you trade Scherzer, you’re downgrading the team significantly and losing your best pitcher. Sure, you’d still have Verlander and Sanchez, but having Scherzer to go with those guys creates a huge three-headed monster for a playoff series. Scherzer pitched great in the playoffs, it wasn’t his fault that the Tigers didn’t win all his games, it was the offense. Despite having Cabrera, Martinez, Prince Fielder, Johnny Peralta, Torii Hunter, Omar Infante, and Austin Jackson, the Tigers’ offense looked anemic at times in the playoffs, against the A’s and Red Sox. Of course the Tigers faced some great pitchers in the playoffs, but to look so bad at times is mind-boggling for a team that has a top five offense. As long as the Tigers correct their mistakes on offense, they can make it back to the World Series. Pitching isn’t a problem, the offense was.
A lot of people also say that the Tigers aren’t willing to pay Scherzer what he’ll want. The Tigers have spent a lot of money the last few years (Verlander extension, Martinez, Fielder, Hunter). Pitching wins championships and the Tigers should keep their pitching intact and pay Scherzer. If the Tigers have the money to be paying all these other guys big money, they have the money to pay Scherzer. The revenue and sales the Tigers make has gone up the last few years, which gives Tigers owner Mike Ilitch more money to pay for players. Scherzer should be kept around and payed, because this Tigers team WILL win a World Series with him. Trading Scherzer only weakens the team and brings them back to the pact, which is something they can’t afford to do with not having won a World Series in 29 years, 30 come next season.