It was widely assumed that free agent starting pitcher Jon Lester was going to run back to the Boston Red Sox as soon as he was able and that Max Scherzer was the ace most attainable to the highest bidder.
But I'm starting to wonder if it's Scherzer who will end up where he started while four or five teams battle it out for Lester.
Some St. Louis Cardinals fans are hopeful that Scherzer will opt for the sentimental choice of coming to play for the team he watched growing up. But the Cy Young Award winner has found a comfortable home with the Detroit Tigers. Maybe that's where his heart is.
Sometimes it's easier to perform away from home where you don't have the distractions of friends and family.
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While a lot of pundits decided Scherzer would be allowed to walk when the Tigers landed David Price in a July trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, let's not forget that Price and fellow Tigers hurler Rick Porcello are free agents after the 2015 season. That's not really a long term solution for replacing Scherzer.
Wouldn't it make more sense to re-sign Scherzer now and have stability for several years than to hope you could extend one or both of the other two pitchers before the end of the 2015 campaign?
The Boston Herald reports that the Tigers tried to trade Porcello to the Red Sox for Yoenis Cespedes, a move I'd be surprised they'd make if they weren't pretty sure they could re-sign Scherzer.
It would be a very typical move of agent Scott Boras, if he knew Scherzer's intent was to re-sign with Detroit, to wait and see what kind of contract Lester gets to use it as a basis for a new contract with the Tigers. That's essentially what happened when Matt Holliday was a free agent. Boras stoked the market and waited to see what other similar players got, then he used that information to try to get the best contract he could from the Cardinals.
I just don't see playing the waiting game working out in the favor of the Redbirds this time around.
If Lester signs with the Chicago Cubs, the San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, Tigers and maybe the Boston Red Sox or Los Angeles Dodgers are going to start a bidding war for Scherzer.
A pitcher of his abilities isn't going to fall through the crack.