A month into the offseason, and it's apparent that Max Scherzer is in no rush to make a decision about his future. That being said, don't count the Tigers out of the picture to keep him in the organization.
Tigers backup catcher Bryan Holaday, along with outfielder J.D. Martinez and third baseman Nick Castellanos, are in the Dominican Republic to visit the Detroit Tigers Dominican Academy on December 2 at 9:00 a.m. EST, to meet children and staff from the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos orphanage.
Monday afternoon, Detroit Sports 105.1's Matt Dery spoke with Holaday in the Dominican Republic to discuss the 2014 season, the offseason, and Scherzer. While Scherzer and the Tigers have been quiet on the free market front, Holaday said the Tigers remain a very real possibility in the competition to keep Scherzer.
"(Scherzer) is pretty good at keeping his mouth shut.," Holaday told Dery. "I know that the Tigers are definitely still on the table. So, anytime you hear that, that's a good sign. We'll see, I think after Winter Meetings we'll have a good idea of what's going on."
The 2014 offseason has become a waiting game, and it appears Scherzer and his agent, Scott Boras, are waiting for another player set the tone on asking prices before they make a move. Scherzer, who declined the Tigers' six-year, $144 million offer this last spring, isn't one to leap into a decision during the offseason before weighing out every possible option. They seem to be comfortable sitting this one out for as long as it takes.
Meanwhile the Tigers have repeatedly downplayed any real possibility of being able to keep Scherzer. After the Tigers re-signed designated hitter Victor Martinez for four more years, Tigers President and GM Dave Dombrowski reiterated that their priority was the outfield and the bullpen. After the issues they had in 2014 with both areas it's not surprising the Tigers are focusing on them.
Dombrowski also said that he didn't expect the Tigers to be in the mix for Scherzer, but wouldn't comment further on the matter on November 15. Recently, both Tigers President and GM Dave Dombrowski, and assistant GM Al Avila went on MLB Network Radio last week to say that while the possibility remains, they aren't hopeful of anything happening.
"Is there any chance, sure, but it's one we're not counting on at this point," Dombrowski said at the time. A few days later Avila went on the air, saying "our best effort came last spring and we weren't able to get it done, after that we felt the chances were slim."
Avila went on to reinforce that the Tigers are focusing on other issues at the moment, including the ever-problematic bullpen and solidifying the outfield.
The problem Scherzer may have is that despite being the best pitcher on the open market right now, there are other less expensive arms available right now. For teams who are trying to pull back on spending, the kind of contract Scherzer is seeking could be anything but appealing, even with his talents.
For now, it appears those in free agency are waiting for Jon Lester to sign before making a move. When that happens, expect pieces to fall into place at a rapid rate. In the meantime, however, don't expect any sudden moves to be made by Scherzer, or any of the other bigger pieces.
Of course, that ball could drop tomorrow and send everything into a tailspin, but let's not go there just yet. After all, we are only a month into the offseason.