Tigers, Max Scherzer cut off contract extension talks

Is it next stop free agency for Max Scherzer? (USATSI)
Is it next stop free agency for Max Scherzer? (USATSI)

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The Tigers and 2013 AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer have failed to terms on a contract extension. Now, negotiations have ended, and Scherzer, who's eligible for free agency after the 2014 season, may be headed for the market. Here's the statement released by the team:

“The Detroit Tigers have made a substantial, long-term contract extension offer to Max Scherzer that would have placed him among the highest paid pitchers in baseball, and the offer was rejected. As we have reiterated, it has been the organization’s intent to extend Max’s contract and keep him in a Tigers uniform well beyond the 2014 season. While this offer would have accomplished that, the ballclub’s focus remains on the start of the upcoming season, and competing for a World Championship. Moving forward there will be no further in-season negotiation and the organization will refrain from commenting on this matter.” 

As Chris Iott of MLive.com reports, Scherzer and agent Scott Boras had been negotiating with a Thursday deadline as part of discussions. Obviously, that deadline has passed without a deal. Regarding that, here's the statement Boras made to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman:

"Max Scherzer made the Tigers a proposal, and the Tigers rejected it. Max is happy in Detroit, he likes his teammates and he's happy to play there."

Scherzer, 29, is coming off a 2013 season in which he went 21-3 and pitched to a 2.90 ERA (145 ERA+) and 4.29 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings of work. For his efforts, Scherzer took 28 of 30 first-place votes in the AL Cy Young balloting. Across parts of six major-league seasons, Scherzer owns an ERA+ of 116.

If Scherzer does indeed hit the market next winter, then he'll join a free agent class of starting pitchers that potentially could also include James Shields and Jon Lester.

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