With the recent trades that we have all talked about it is believed that we were clearing up payroll for Miguel Cabrera and Max Scherzer extension. I'm here to propose a slightly different route to doing so for one of them: Max Scherzer. I say the Tigers trade him and his one year of control and try to bring in a couple of pieces that will help the team now and in the future, then sign him to a long deal in the offseason. Before killing me and not finishing this post, hear me out as I think I have a few legit reasons why.
First up, his agent. Scott Boras loves the Tigers because they have been known to be willing to give his clients the big bucks when others won't. However. At this point right now, only Clayton Kershaw is a bigger name set to be a free agent at the end of the 2014 season. Chase Headley and Hanley Ramirez are both up there as well, but Scherzer will most likely command more money and demand than either of those two. So why would he settle for a contract extension when he can get a bidding war going with many teams next year boosting the contract size in both years and amount? He's not at all a fool. He will rarely sign an extension with any team, with some examples being: Adrian Beltre, Prince Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jayson Werth. These players all made it to free agency and got some very nice contracts for waiting. There were a few that did agree to contract extensions never seeing free agency, such as Carlos Gonzalez and Elvis Andrus. But those were also very early into the arbitration process.
Second reason is let's say the Tigers give him a Qualifying Offer and cannot resign him. Would that at best first round pick (possibly second) be better than the package Detroit could get in a trade for him? My guess and answer would be no. A reigning AL Cy Young, ace pitcher will get a lot more than a first round pick, he could get top prospect in the game. Far more of a guarantee than a draft pick as we have learned with dealing Andrew Miller and to an extent Jacob Turner.
Any teams that lose out on Jeff Samardzija and David Price, or don't want to pay the demands their respective teams are asking for, could be potential landing spots. I could list potential prospects and players that they could target, but no one knows for sure.
Add to this that there is no reason the Tigers cannot go out and sign him to a lucrative deal even after having done this trade. If he is indeed in the future plans of the Tigers, they could get this done and bring him back without too many hiccups.
Will it happen? Most likely not. Should it happen? I'd certainly be on board.