Scherzer, Kershaw go from Cy Young to contract negotiations

15 Comments

It’s been just a little more than 12 hours since Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw were named Cy Young Award winners. But we’re already turning to the next chapter in their stories: where they’ll be long term.

Following some speculation that the Tigers could seek to trade Scherzer, who has a year left on his current deal, MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports that Scherzer is open to a contract extension with the Tigers.

“I am open (to a new deal),” Scherzer said. “I realize I’ve got a good situation here in Detroit. But it also takes two to dance … I don’t have any [anxiety] to get anything done, but if something does get done, I’d be happy to do it.”

It’s not entirely clear what kind of deal Scherzer could command. Given his steady improvement over the past two and a half seasons you can’t call his 2013 a fluke, but I don’t feel like there’s a consensus as to whether he is coming off a decided peak career year and will return to being merely good or if he’s now on a nice plateau where he can be expected to be an elite starter for 3-4 more seasons. Dave Dombrowski has to figure that out and the process of figuring that out is what will determine whether Scherzer is dangled or locked up.

Clayton Kershaw is less of an uncertainty. He’s now got two Cy Young Awards and a second placy Cy Young finish in the past three seasons, is three years younger than Scherzer and, barring injury, is clearly a guy who is beginning to put together the peak seasons of a Hall of Famer. As a result of that, he seems far more philosophical about inking a long term deal now:

 

It was reported in October that the Dodgers had offered Kershaw a $300 million extension during the season or, at the very least, had begun discussions in that direction. That he can look at that and still talk about just having one year ahead of him is pretty close to the dictionary definition of the word “cool.” Whatever the case, though, whether it’s the Dodgers or someone else, Kershaw is going to get a record deal for a pitcher when it’s all said and done.

Two Cy Young award winners who, in the next year or so, could have different addresses. Gentlemen: open your wallets.

Report: Braves extend Kurt Suzuki

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kurt Suzuki will wear a Braves’ uniform through the 2018 season after signing a one-year, $3.5 million extension with the club on Saturday, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal adds that the two had been in talks for weeks and Suzuki made it clear that he wanted to remain in Atlanta for the foreseeable future. The team has yet to announce the extension.

Suzuki, 33, initially signed a one-year contract with the Braves back in January. The veteran backstop stepped into a backup role behind starting catcher Tyler Flowers, but still found a way to impress at the plate with a .271/.343/.525 batting line, career-best 18 home runs and an .868 OPS through 287 PA. According to FanGraphs, Suzuki’s 2.2 fWAR makes 2017 his most valuable season since his run with the 2009 Athletics.

It’s a prudent move for the Braves, who would have lost one of their most dynamic second-half hitters to the free agent market this offseason. Entering Saturday, Suzuki is second only to Freddie Freeman with 11 homers and 1.4 fWAR since the All-Star break. His stunning comeback also confirmed the team’s decision to look outside the organization for a backup catcher, rather than turning to fellow veteran Anthony Recker behind the plate.

“On a personal level, this season exceeded my expectations,” Suzuki told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s just one of those things I can’t explain. I put a lot of work in and really didn’t have a job until late January. I got an opportunity here and took advantage of it. It was definitely a good fit.”

Mikie Mahtook is likely done for the season

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tigers’ outfielder Mikie Mahtook is unlikely to play again this season, club manager Brad Ausmus announced Saturday. Mahtook was diagnosed with a Grade 2 left groin strain following Friday’s series opener against the Twins, when he appeared to injure himself after chasing down Byron Buxton‘s two-RBI double in the fourth.

This is the second time Mahtook has sustained a groin injury over the past month. The 27-year-old exited Friday’s game with a .276/.330/.457 batting line, 12 home runs and a .787 OPS through 379 plate appearances with the team.

With the Tigers out of contention, there’s no reason to trot out Mahtook for the remaining eight games of the regular season. The club has yet to specify a timetable for his return, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t be in fine shape to compete for a starting role next spring.