By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT - What did you expect to hear from Detroit Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski when media asked him Tuesday about the report that the Tigers badly want Max Scherzer and will pay big, big bucks to land him?
Dombrowski could have confirmed the report, admitting the club sees re-signing Scherzer as its top priority. Dombrowski could have noted the generosity of owner Mike Ilitch as proof Detroit can compete in a bidding war for the 2013 Cy Young. Dombrowski could have noted how important Scherzer could be to the rotation, which may lose Rick Porcello and David Price to free agency after the 2015 season.
For a general manager, obfuscation comes with the territory - and for good reason. It would hardly be good business for Dombrowski to talk openly about the team's strategy in free agency.
For all Dombrowski's insistence on characterizing Olney's report as "inaccurate," he still did not close the door on re-signing Scherzer. He has left that possibility open all offseason even as he has downplayed it.
When Dombrowski spoke on a recent teleconference about the acquisition of starting pitcher Shane Greene, he said he is content with the current rotation. Dombrowski's track record tells us he subscribes to the well-worn phrase "there's always room for improvement" as readily as anyone. "Content" hardly translates to "will make no changes."
The Tigers could benefit greatly by re-signing Scherzer. He might be the best pitcher in baseball not named Clayton Kershaw or Felix Hernandez, and there is no dispute Scherzer is the best option currently available. He won the Cy Young in 2013 and followed up with another great season in 2014.
Scherzer's agent Scott Boras often points out the relative lack of mileage on Scherzer's arm. Indeed, when one considers the number of pitches thrown in the majors, Jon Lester - who just signed for six years and $155 million - is roughly two seasons further into his career than Scherzer even though both players turn 31 in 2015 (Lester in January, Scherzer in July).
Dombrowski has said multiple times than anything can happen, and with Dombrowski, something usually does happen, and often what happens does so quickly. Often, few people see it coming.
Scherzer may well end up somewhere other than Detroit, especially since he and Boras seem to be shooting for the moon in terms of a contract, but if he does come back to the Tigers, it will not be nearly as shocking as Dombrowski might make it out to be.
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