Interesting bargaining tactics, Detroit. After apparently spending much of the offseason negotiating with the American League’s 2013 Cy Young Award winner, the Tigers hit a wall.
However, rather than keep their negotiations in house, in hopes of, you know, reaching an agreement, the Tigers decided to smear fecal matter all over Max Scherzer’s figurative walls. It is relatively common knowledge that once a player “breaks out” at the major league level, their price tag raises in accordance. Scherzer undoubtedly broke out last season, and unsurprisingly, the right handed hurler wants to be paid as such.
This is where the Tigers apparently disagree. In a press release issued yesterday, the Detroit Tigers vented about their struggle:
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. 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. Moving forward there will be no further in-season negotiation and the organization will refrain from commenting on this matter.
You mean to tell me you won’t accept less money to live here?!
In general, this press release is just unbelievably shortsighted. Aside from the fact that they are attacking one of their most important players, thus significantly decreasing any chances of retaining his services beyond this season, they are creating a schism within the locker room where the organization shows no qualms about pointing fingers at their own players. So whether Tigers players agree with the club or Scherzer, they are probably taking sides.
“Among the highest paid pitchers in baseball,” is almost an insult to Scherzer in this professional landscape. The standard of sport contracts, whether right or wrong, is that it doesn’t matter who the highest paid player at your position was — if you play better than him, it should be you. To act offended at Scherzer not accepting a likely-hometown-discount is just downright naive.
The last line of the press release, talking about how there will be no in-season negotiations, is also unnecessary — at least in the manner that it was presented. Maybe the club felt as though it was important for them to be transparent throughout the process, however, all they have proven is that they are transparently fickle.
And so, at the cusp of opening day, a team that many considered to be one of the better in the league at playing baseball, already has a significant distraction on their plate, away from the plate.