Scherzer avoids arbitration, signs 1-year deal
MAX SCHERZER agreed to a 1-year contract that leaves his future with the Detroit Tigers as uncertain as ever.
The AL Cy Young Award winner's deal for 2014 is worth $15,525,000, and it enables Scherzer and the Tigers to avoid arbitration, with the righthander's free agency still looming less than a year away.
Scherzer could have an even bigger payday coming soon - one way or another. He is eligible to go on the market after the season, although the Tigers would love to sign a long-term contract with him.
GM Dave Dombrowski said yesterday this 1-year agreement doesn't necessarily preclude a lengthier deal before Opening Day. "We still have that desire," he said.
Detroit announced Scherzer's deal along with 1-year agreements with righthanders Rick Porcello and Al Alburquerque, and outfielders Andy Dirks and Austin Jackson. All had filed for arbitration.
Catcher Alex Avila is Detroit's only remaining player who filed for arbitration without a deal.
Scherzer, 29, went 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and 240 strikeouts last season, and the Tigers advanced to the AL Championship Series against Boston. He made $6,725,000 last year, and another stellar season could put the righthander in position for a contract similar to those of teammate Justin Verlander ($180 million for 7 years) and Seattle's Felix Hernandez ($175 million for 7) or even the Los Angeles Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw ($215 million for 7).
Porcello went 13-8 with a 4.32 ERA and a career-high 142 strikeouts in 2013. Alburquerque appeared in 53 games, posting a 4-3 record and a 4.59 ERA.
Dirks hit .256 with 16 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 37 RBI. Jackson batted .272 with 30 doubles, seven triples, 12 homers and 49 RBI.
Other notable arbitration news:
* Outfielder Brett Gardner and pitchers Ivan Nova, David Robertson and Shawn Kelley agreed to 1-year contracts with the New York Yankees, raising the team's luxury-tax payroll to about $181.5 million for 19 players with agreements. New York has settled with all its players in arbitration.
* Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann reached agreement on a 2-year, $24 million deal. Shortstop Ian Desmond also agreed to a 2-year deal.
* The Braves agreed to 1-year contracts with pitchers Kris Medlen and Mike Minor, infielder Chris Johnson and outfielder Jordan Schafer. Three Braves remain in arbitration: closer Craig Kimbrel, first baseman Freddie Freeman and outfielder Jason Heyward.
* The Reds agreed to a 2-year deal with reliever Sam LeCure and a 1-year contract with Alfredo Simon, leaving them with three players in salary arbitration, starters Homer Bailey and Mike Leake, and closer Aroldis Chapman.
* The Cardinals agreed to 1-year contracts with outfielders Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos, leaving infielder Daniel Descalso as the team's final player in arbitration.
* The Padres agreed to 1-year deals with third baseman Chase Headley and infielder-outfielder Kyle Blanks to avoid arbitration.
* Closer Bobby Parnell agreed to a $3.7 million, 1-year contract with the New York Mets, and leftfielder Eric Young Jr. has settled for a $1.85 million, 1-year deal. The agreements left Lucas Duda, Dillon Gee and Daniel Murphy as the last Mets in arbitration.
* The Royals agreed to 1-year deals with first baseman Eric Hosmer, righthander Luke Hochevar and utilityman Emilio Bonifacio to avoid going to arbitration.