Friday, October 31, 2014

Should the Detroit Tigers pick Max Scherzer over David Price

Let us start with a few basic assumptions. The first and most important being is the Detroit Tigers have a that the Luxury Tax that can and will be imposed by Major League Baseball, the amount of money a medium market baseball team can reasonably spend, or the amount of money the Illitch family is willing to commit to the payroll in any one season. We do not know what that number is, but it is there.

Once we accept that as fact we have to come to the realization that while keeping both Max Scherzer and David Price in the starting rotation would be the best possible income. However  when we accept fact we come to the realization that it is highly unlikely that the team can afford to resign both hurlers, and make the necessary upgrades else where on the roster to keep this team as a playoff contender.

That of course means one of them has to go. Now neither of these two men have contracts for 2015 as of right now. It s going to take a substantial investment to get these players signed long term. Sure David Price is under team control for next year but he is still going to take a substantial offer to get him on the field for next year.

A lot of people assumed when the Tigers made the trade for Price that Mad Max was a certain goner. Given the ugliness of the contract negotiations last off season that seemed like the most likely outcome. However, it seems to me that is not what General Manager Dave Dombrowski should do.

Price is a better overall pitcher only because he is left handed. He may be the best left handed pitcher in the game today. Past that these are two front of the rotation guys who had very similar stat lines in 2014. Both can eat up innings, both can get more than their fair share of strike outs and both can be #1 guys on any team in both leagues.

The only things that separates these two guys in my mind is the level of comfort they two have being in Detroit and in this locker room and what they can bring back via trade. Scherzer is a free agent. He has six year of service and is free to sign with any team. The Tigers have zero leverage left to bring him back or get anything in return if another team breaks the bank for him. Price on the other hand could bring back a nice return and help restock this team after the disastrous Doug Fister deal and the price he cost this organization himself.

What exactly could the Tigers get in return for Price is completely unknown but I bet he could bring back a starting center fielder or a front line relief pitcher both of which are two of the bigger needs on this team heading toward this off season. I think it highly likely that Price would bring back one of those two things and a prospect or two. When he was dealt at the deadline he netted the team that dealt him a back of the rotation starter, a highly touted prospect, and a middle infielder.

Think about it like this...Given the Tigers depth at the middle infielder spot if they made that trade...Price to whomever and got back a front line reliever, they could then theoretically deal Ian Kinsler and his hefty contract to help pay for Scherzer and hopefully get another one of the pieces they need. I know Kinsler was one of the better performing Tigers in 2104 but to make the kind of improvements this team sacrifices must be made and finding a cheaper middle infield to keep Scherzer and dramatically improve the bullpen may be one the those trade offs that finally gets this team to a World Series title.