You might remember that Tigers right-hander and 2013 AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer rejected a six-year, $144 million contract extension from the Tigers in the spring. It was a calculated risk for a pitcher who could hit it big on the free agent market this winter. However, he has a Plan B if something goes terribly awry in the coming months.
Tom Verducci of SI.com has the story:
Scherzer revealed to SI.com that he took out an insurance policy that covers lost potential earnings if he is injured prior to hitting the free agent market this winter.
“This takes the injury risk out of it,” said Scherzer, who did not specify if the policy covered all or most of the $144 million.
It’s not like Scherzer will be hard-up for cash if hurts his arm tomorrow and never plays again. Including this year’s $15.525 million salary, he has made almost $30 million during his career. Still, it’s a smart and logical move for him. This kind of thing is probably more common than we realize, though Scherzer’s situation obviously commands more attention since he could fetch a $200 million deal this winter if all goes according to plan for him and his agent Scott Boras.
SportsDash: Jeff Passan explains why Scherzer’s arm is so expensive
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.