Tigers, Max Scherzer cut off extension talks

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As first reported by MLive.com’s Chris Iott, the Tigers made a final long-term extension offer this weekend to the representatives of right-hander Max Scherzer and had it rejected. The two sides will wait until the offseason to pick the negotiations back up, and there’s obviously now a very good chance that Scherzer will be hitting the open market.

“We made him an offer that would have placed him among highest paid pitchers in baseball,” Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski told the media on Sunday morning. “They turned it down.”

Scherzer is set to earn $15.53 million in 2014 — his third and final season of salary arbitration.

The 29-year-old won American League Cy Young Award honors last season after going 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 240 strikeouts in 214 1/3 innings (32 starts). His agent is Scott Boras.

The Tigers signed Justin Verlander to a seven-year, $180 million extension last March.

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UPDATE, 1:19 p.m. ET: Boras has responded to Dombrowski’s statement, via ESPN.com:

“Max Scherzer made a substantial long-term contract extension offer to the Detroit Tigers that would have placed him among the highest-paid pitchers in baseball, and the offer was rejected by Detroit,” Boras said. “Max is very happy with the city of Detroit, the fans and his teammates, and we will continue negotiating with the Tigers at season’s end.”

So there seems to be some disagreement between the parties about how the negotiations went down.

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UPDATE, 3:55 p.m. ET: According to FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi, the Tigers offered Scherzer a six-year, $144 million extension. Those are the same terms that ace lefty Cole Hamels got from the Phillies in 2012.

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.