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Max Scherzer a trade candidate, Ken Rosenthal writes

Don't worry though, it seems unlikely one would occur.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing new here, but Ken Rosenthal wrote today that Max Scherzer could be a trade candidate and that the Washington Nationals would make a good partner for the Tigers.

Speculation. Not facts.


The Tigers are not actively shopping Scherzer. Dave Dombrowski is not running through his Rolodex going "Pssst, Mike. What'll ya give me for Max Scherzer? Psh, I already have one of those!" Assuming, of course, one of those is not a prospect, because the Tigers don't really have a lot of them. Come to think of it, we also have to assume one of those isn't a second baseman, relief pitcher or (some would say) a leadoff batter.

The logic, as Rosenthal hints, is that Scherzer is going to be pricey for the Tigers to re-sign. The Nationals are deep in young power-pitchers like Dombrowski enjoys stocking his organization with and they have some veteran relief help to spare. That could help solve one of the team's immediate problems, help the Tigers save a few bucks on a player they are not likely to keep after 2014 and possibly open up a rotation spot for Drew Smyly. The incoming power arm would probably be seen as depth, though it's possible he could step into the rotation instead of Smyly.

The problem is that for a team like the Tigers that has the World Series in its sights and a rookie skipper, keeping a Cy Young award winner (to be) would seem the better move for 2014. As Rosenthal notes about the scheme, "some rival executives are baffled." Because it just doesn't make a lot of sense to give up such a key piece of the puzzle to save a few bucks unless you are certain you're making the club better overall. Immediately. Often the team that got the better player "won" the trade. So it would be hard to see the Tigers "winning" a trade Scherzer was involved in unless they could plug multiple lineup/bullpen needs with immediate above-average players as a result.

It's early in the offseason. You've got plenty of time to erase a few pieces on the white board, write in a few free agents and see how the numbers look. Scherzer certainly could be traded. We've seen this scenario before -- it's how Scherzer arrived in Detroit in the first place, remember.

But it still seems unlikely at this point.

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