Ken Rosenthal floated the idea of the Tigers trading impending Cy Young winner Max Scherzer to the Nationals. OK, that sounds a little crazy, right? These are the Tigers, not the Rays. But consider:
1. Scherzer is a free agent after 2014.
2. He's a Scott Boras client.
3. The Tigers already have Justin Verlander, Prince Fielder and Anibal Sanchez signed to big contracts through 2017 and beyond.
4. Miguel Cabrera is a free agent in two seasons.
Tigers owner Mike Ilitch is 84 years old and craves a World Series title. The players want to win for him as well.
"One of his biggest dreams has been to have a World Series championship along with the rest of the guys in here and the fans in Detroit," utility guy Don Kelly said back in September. "That is one of our goals, to win a World Championship and bring it back and present it to him."
Does that mean the Tigers are willing to throw a budget out the window? In 2015, Verlander, Fielder, Cabrera and Sanchez will make a combined $90.8 million. That's more for four players than 16 teams had on their Opening Day payrolls in 2013.
As for Scherzer, Rosenthal writes, "At the very least, sources say, they are in the 'listening, not shopping' mode. Translation: 'Willing to move, for the right return.'"
One possibility would be trading one year of Scherzer for two years of Jordan Zimmermann, although Rosenthal mentions the Nationals top three of Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Zimmermann and says to imagine adding Scherzer to that group, implying the Nationals want Scherzer without giving up Zimmermann. The Nationals do have two hard-throwing pitching prospects in Lucas Giolito and A.J. Cole, with Cole closer to the majors.
But if you're the Tigers, you're built to win now. Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter will be 35 and 38 next season. Fielder may already be in decline. Cabrera's injuries at the end of the 2013 season could be the first signs of his body breaking down. The Tigers may only have one more year left with this roster. Don't you go for it? If you lose Scherzer after the season, then you lose Scherzer. At least you know you tried to win in 2014 with your best team.
What do you think? Would you look to trade him if you're the Tigers?